Tips, Wisdom and Just Plain Old, Good Advice for Mature Job Seekers
By Ms. Judy Cherry, Career Advisor/Program Coordinator, JEVS Career Solutions for 55+
I hear one, if not all, of these comments week to week.
“Here is my three-page résumé. I have 2 versions, but I do not want to do return to what I did for 30 years. I am not sure what I want.”
“I just want a part-time job, something to get me out of the house”.
“I know I have not worked in 15 years, but I am not working for less than $60,000 per year…maybe $55K.”
“I want a low-stress job. A little something, something located in Center City only.”
Hmm. Where should I start with these? Let’s get really real and look at how sophisticated and savvy mature job searchers become savvy enough to deal with their quest for employment in today’s market. And, the almighty COMPETITION! Savvy job seekers become Proactive, Prepared, Practiced, and they follow advice outlined in Ms. Judy’s previous articles (just had to include that plug!).
Here’s some frequently asked questions and my answers on how to deal with the competition out there.
1. How does my competition do it? What do they do?
MS. JUDY: They can avoid frustration; stay focused and encouraged by joining job clubs. Job clubs often invite successful career professionals with years of experience in lots of different areas. Many have already landed a job and can offer great advice and share their experiences. Job clubs also include proactive job seekers that may know about prospective job leads. This can be a great morale booster.
Savvy job seekers also realize early that they may have a degree that has changed over the years and have skills that are no longer required. So they acquire professional certifications, get any background clearances necessary and they remain in touch by joining professional organizations.
They also routinely review job postings so they have a concise idea of all current requirements and skill sets.
They know it is important to access sophisticated social networking tools such as LinkedIn, but they also know that joining large organizations, such as churches, synagogues or mosques can be used to their advantage. Many religious organizations have huge congregations often as large as 20,000 members.
Ms. Judy recommends, joining all of them. They are easy to access, you come in contact with lots of people and it’s free, (most of the time). Take plenty of résumés and try to pass them out at the door. Imagine if 20,000 people knew you need a job? I am sure sooner or later someone will know about an employment opportunity for you and be sure to say a prayer while you’re there!
2. What do they know?
MS. JUDY: They know who they are competing with! It’s not just younger job seekers, but older job seekers. YES, older job seekers! They have a lot to offer! They have a firm idea of the current qualifications, critically important skill sets, and what employers require. Older job seekers have a realistic understanding of what they are worth and salaries that employers are offering.
Savvy job seekers seek professional help early. They know not to put all their eggs in one basket, they go to lots of employment agencies and programs—yep, big ones and small ones—and they are aware of what these programs can and cannot offer and how they work. They may also appreciate that workforce professionals usually have very large caseloads, often exceeding 200 job seekers. Each referral requires lengthy processes. So the savvy job seekers does as much homework as possible and they are prepared before meeting with a workforce professional.
3. Does a savvy job seeker practice for the interview?
MS JUDY: Great question. A+ for asking this! The competition is aware of a major mistake job seekers make–they know that job seekers must devote time to do serious homework to prepare for an interview. They know that just because having a great resume and attending a 100 interview workshops does not mean they are going to ace the all-important interview.
“Winging it” 20 years ago in an interview may have been okay back in the day, but is not good enough to land a job today. Interviewing requires practice and more practice, a firm understanding of what the position requires, and how to interpret the meaning of interview questions.
They know that many job seekers do not devote enough time to practice professional answers. Don’t tell me you think it’s acceptable to ad lib your answers! You are likely to not be selected for a position. Savvy job seekers know that looking for work is work.
Here’s my final thoughts on preparing yourself for a job search to beat the competition.
“If you think you can wing it in today’s competitive employment environment, as you did back in the day, you will get your wings clipped.” Remember what Aretha Franklin sang, “You Better Think!”
I hope you’ve enjoyed my fourth installment of Ask Ms. Judy! Now you have a basic idea of all that goes into beating out the competition.
Be sure to check out all of my Ask Ms. Judy blogs:
Part 1 … February 2016 – Résumé, Interview and Salary Advice for the 55+ Job Seeker
Part 2… July 2016 – New to Job Searching? 4 Tips to Get You Started
Part 3 … February 2017 – Time for a Career Change!
Part 5 … February 2018 – Determining Company Culture; Why it Matters to the Interview
Part 6 … July 2018 – Did Your Job…Lose You?
Part 7 … January 2019 – How to Convince Hiring Managers That You Are Indeed Tech-Savvy
If you are a Philadelphia resident over age 55 and looking for a new part-time or full-time job, I can help you. (For free!) Call me at JEVS Career Solutions for 55+ at 267-647-7137 or click on this link for more info.