Ok, so you’re over 50 and the job market is tough these days. You may feel that the battle is too hard to win. How do you find a job if you’re over 50?

There are people over 50 landing good jobs! What’s their magic formula for success?

They do not accept fear-based myths as the one-and-only truth

These people believe in maintaining an open and curious attitude to their job search. I hope this article will ease you into a positive mindset so you take control of your process.

If you don’t want to give it a go, that’s your prerogative and there is little reason to keep reading this article.

It’s tough to find a job for everyone, not just those over 50

To be really honest, it’s tough not only for the over 50’s but for all job seekers. It’s all a matter of attitude and determination and, never giving up! One of my clients in his early 40’s experienced great challenges securing a new role because of his seniority and also because of the limited opportunities in Sydney at that point in time.

In order to uncover more opportunities he had to open up his search to other cities and overseas. He became open to the idea of relocating. He found that the executive search firm consultants were of the opinion that it was a ‘tough market out there’ as they, too, were struggling to find suitable roles for him.

He took matters into his own hands rather than using the common job search methods. He has now moved to Singapore having secured a role at the level he was seeking in the industry of his choice.

Typical job search methods are to register with recruiters and to send out dozens upon dozens of resumes to get a job. That used to work when it was an employees’ market. Many of my clients have told me that it used to be so easy for them to get a job ‘back in the day’ however things have changed.

Even though it may be a challenging job market right now, companies are still hiring. They’re just not hiring as freely as they seemed to years ago. There is a natural attrition rate within organisations. Those roles need to be filled – sometimes by internal candidates, sometimes by external candidates.

You must do what is most effective to be the external candidate who is the Chosen One. So, how can you do that?

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What is the Hiring Manager looking for?

Consider what the hiring manager needs. His own job security may depend on his people making him look good. He’ll want to find a new team member who will make a significant contribution and fit in.

This makes hiring a very personal matter. Therefore he might not want to leave it to the Human Resources Department to short-list the few people they believe would be the dream candidates.

Doing the hard yards himself by placing the perfect job ad and screening online resumes is terribly time consuming.

So what is the hiring manager, to do? Unless it’s against company policy, he turns to people he already knows and trusts and asks for recommendations. His network very likely will understand the type of person who’ll be a good fit.

The single most important thing to understand about job search is that people hire people they know will be a good fit.

LinkedIn is where you must be – so make your profile a good one

There’s another option open to hiring managers. LinkedIn. LinkedIn has made it so easy for anyone to do a key word search to find candidates that match their requirements. They can choose the functional capabilities required, the industry, location and even filter current or past companies to find a suitable candidate with the right experience.

LinkedIn will create a list of candidates matching the required criteria, saving a lot of time. In fact, a recent JobVite survey found that 93% of recruiters use LinkedIn to source for candidates.

What does this tell you? To get a foot in the door, a getting a recommendation or to be easily found via LinkedIn will be your best bet in the current job market.

Get out there and Network

Focus on meeting and getting to know decision-makers

The most productive activities for any job seekers are those that lead to creating relationships with potential hiring managers. You also need to create relationships with people whom the decision-makers know and trust (their sphere of influence).

Have some fun with it and become a job search detective. Research the companies where you’d like to work. Identify the decision-makers, and figure out how you might meet them.

If you have no connections who may be able to introduce you, attend events where those decision makers might be. Attend conferences and networking events. Turn up and create your own serendipity.

I encouraged one of my clients who lived a long way south of Sydney to attend his local chamber of commerce meetings when he told me he had a limited network. He made a number of new connections at the first two meetings he attended and also made two excellent connections with hiring managers who, by chance, were looking to expand their teams.

As he’d crafted a strong positioning statement, or ‘pitch’, he was able to articulate with ease his relevant areas of expertise. This eventually led to two job offers. Those roles never made it on to the online job boards. His networking efforts uncovered two ‘hidden’ jobs.

Of course it’s much less confronting to stay in front of the computer and just click ‘Apply’ and send your resume into cyberspace. However, if that is not yielding the desired results, do something different.

Give yourself a chance for success by expanding your connections and developing those relationships. Allow people to find you with ease by creating a powerful LinkedIn profile featuring all of the relevant key words that will help you to turn up in a relevant search.

Develop resilience. Of course you will expose yourself to rejection, perhaps many times before you land the job you want. Keep at it. Frequently it’s a case of: no, no, no, no, no, no, then YES!

A reality check

Are you qualified for what you want to do? Do you have the relevant experience? Do you understand the latest relevant technology and methodology? Do you present yourself as the most up to date and informed professional? Are you willing to learn? Are you open to new ideas? Are you adaptable during changing circumstances? Are you willing to learn from those younger than you?

If you can answer, ‘Yes’ to all of the above then you are giving yourself the best possible chance for success.

Another option

If, despite it all, you don’t secure a new role as an employee, consider other options. Leverage your skills, knowledge and resourcefulness by considering self-employment.

There are several options to consider: Consulting, Buying a Business, Buying a Franchise or setting up your own Business. I’ll discuss the entrepreneurial route in a follow-up article, as there is a lot to consider before launching in this direction.

In the meantime, I’d love to hear how you go in the comments below – share your challenges as well as the successes.

Want to speak with a consultant to assess your career potential? Give us a call now!

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