Doom and gloom for the older worker?

Yesterday, about half a dozen readers sent me an article from the LA Times on how the job market is especially tough for the older worker. Receiving an enormous amount of emails over the past several years from over 50 jobseekers at their wits’ end over trying to find a job…well, it wasn’t news to me.  On Thursday, over 10,000 jobseekers (more than twice the amount expected) showed up at a New Hampshire job fair for about 1500 job openings.

Yes, it can be a very discouraging time for jobseekers, especially those in “youth”-centric fields, such as marketing, sales, creative …even retail.  If you spent your career climbing to the top of a sales ladder, or becoming a marketing maven and find yourself out of a job right now, well, you are in a big bind. 

There are just too many jobseekers vying for the limited number of available jobs.  However, no matter how tough, it is really important to stay encouraged, motivated and optimistic.  There are only a few ways to get a job.  The first is through a connection.  Most open jobs never even make it to a job posting.  So if there is a company you are interested in, do your best to find someone who knows someone at that company and try to make a connection in the department you are interested in.  If you keep in touch, then when a job opening comes up, you might be top of mind.

Early bird catches the worm.  Almost always.  With so many candidates vying for each opportunity, you need to get your resume in as close to first as possible.  While a recruiter is fresh, you might stand out in the pile, rather than when they are looking through the 200th resume.

Stand out.  If you are a Boomer or 50 Plusser, forget trying to showcase all your talents.  First reaction will be that you are…yup…overqualified.  Trim your resume to minimum best.  That means quantifiable accomplishments over the past 10 years.  Unless something directly relates to the job you are applying for from before that time frame, then really streamline or even ignore it on your “marketing” resume.

Be aware of the behavioral approach to interview.  You are likely used to the “tell me about yourself” type of interview.  Recruiters may now be including behavioral questions as a pre-qualifier to an interview — either in an emailable or online application, or on the first phone interview.  They are looking for content, not fluff.  And they’ll want honest, thoughtful answers.  If you are asked 3 questions, answer all three.  If they want a general answer, give a general answer.  If you are asked something specific (like, what are your 3 favorite things to do on a free day?), then be specific.  Don’t say too little, and don’t say too much.  But make sure that what you say is the best you can answer.

You are no longer competing against top dogs.  You are competing against every Boomer, every 50 Plusser, every college grad, every job seeker in their mid-twenties and thirties.  It is expected that you will have computer skills, know how to pull together a PowerPoint presentation, create an Excel spreadsheet, find info on the web.  So if you aren’t computer savvy, you must get savvy, no matter what level position you are looking for. 

That way when you are one of the 10,000 jobseekers showing up at a job fair, you have a chance of catching someone’s attention.

2 thoughts on “Doom and gloom for the older worker?

  1. You sure do need to stand out AND you need to look the part!
    Depending on what job you want, do your homework, one blue suite is not a one size fits all solution.
    Do what you can to find out what most people are wearing for the job you want. Go on the website, call and ask about dress codes, do what you can to find out.
    Showing up in a suit,when the dress code is more casual, will send the message that you are clueless and won’t fit in.
    Be well groomed, ironed and have your shoes in good condition and polished if they are leather!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *