I recently took a Career Quiz designed by Jimmy Sweeney, veteran direct sales and internet marketing strategist who now offers “Brilliantly Simple Marketing Strategies Applied to YOUR Job Search” via his comprehensive website. As you know, it is my goal to either have what you need or know who does, whether it comes to career transition, image, or fashion. So I try to keep up with who’s out there doing career coaching targeted to those making career transitions later in life. So when I discovered Career Jimmy’s Career Quiz I immediately took it in order to see what he had to say.
The results of the Quiz offered nothing that surprised me. However, the one thing that stood out was the very first topic on the report – My age. Here’s what he had to say about job seekers in my age bracket:
More than 1 in 3 people (35%) who are unemployed between the ages of 55 and 64 won’t find a job for at least 6 months.
On average, an unemployed job seeker between 55 and 64 years old experiences a 30%-35% salary drop on their next job. The LONGER it takes you to find a job, the bigger you can expect this salary drop to be.
(Source: Center for Retirement Research at Boston College)
Okay, we all essentially know this and if you’re like me it makes your blood boil. However, we must neutralize that reaction and remember that knowledge is power. As a job seeker, knowing what you’re facing is essential to creating an effective job search strategy. So these statistics are merely more information to plug into your list of obstacles and objections that must be overcome. Once you’re aware, then you build your strategic plan.
Don Grandy, who coaches and mentors small businesses, recently listed two things essential to business success:
1. Never compromise your Core Values
2. Stay committed to Innovation
When it comes to those of us in the Baby Boomer age bracket, I believe these two recommendations are even more important to the success of an effective job search.
First, let’s look at Core Values. It is tempting, when faced with looming long term unemployment, to believe compromise is essential to finally getting a job. But if we compromise our core values, everyone suffers. So knowing your Core Values is an essential part of building an effective job search strategy. Just as important, is knowing the Core Values of the companies you target in your search. If the company’s Core Values are not compatible with yours, you are most likely barking up the wrong tree. If they are compatible, you now have valuable material for creating your interview strategy.
Next, Innovation is essential. Innovation relates both to your job search strategy and your outlook on Life. As a Baby Boomer faced with ageism in the workplace, if you’re not innovative in all aspects of your job search strategy, you will have a much harder time achieving a satisfying career transition or even landing a plum job in your current field.
However, it isn’t just innovation in your job searching that is important. For those of us in the Baby Boomer category, staying viable in our career, profession, or business demands that we be committed to innovative thinking. It is too easy to fool ourselves into believing that we can do without a good working knowledge of current technology, social media, cultural trends, social economics, and a whole host of things that we never had to think about back in the seventies and eighties when we were first building our professional identities. But we have to think about it now if we want to stay current and viable in a world that often seems to want to ignore us.
In his LinkedIn group Career Dream Team, Darrell Gurney recently wrote about the Power of Personal Presence and the importance of “high touch vs high tech” – a term we all started using back in the nineties when technology was first beginning to boom. Now, twenty-five years after the term was coined, the concept of personal face-to-face interaction takes on a whole new meaning given our over-whelming shift to constant tech forms of communication. Not only that, but now more than ever companies are requiring online job applications with rigid hiring procedures that severely limit opportunities to get in front of company decision-makers.
As a result, innovation in making a career transition and landing the right job is at once more important and more difficult than ever. So if you want to employ effective strategies, innovative thinking is just the beginning. If you want to beat the odds and land on your feet in a satisfying encore career, get help and remember:
- be innovative and forward-thinking
- join groups (Toastmasters, MeetUp groups, professional organizations, etc.)
- get a coach (Darrell Gurney, Five O’clock Club, etc.)
- get connected (FaceBook, LinkedIn, Twitter, etc.)
- read, subscribe to, and comment on blogs such as Life Reimagined and Huffington Post Reinvention
- stay current on the technology in your field
So yes, after age 60 it is not easy to get a job or make a career transition. And it is not impossible! The best part is, however, that the process will force you to keep growing, stay active, and be involved. If you embrace this with the firm belief that you deserve to have an Encore Performance that is thrilling and exciting, something that is fulfilling, satisfying, and rewarding, then you will make that your reality!