|Question:||I am 55, with a progressive history in manufacturing management. Five years ago I moved to Arizona making a career change into real estate. As a result of the housing market I relocated to Los Angeles and began a job search targeting my past history in manufacturing.That was nine months ago and have had only two interviews during this time. I have been submitting through indeed, craigslist, monster,and others, with futility. I do not have any networking contacts since I failed to stay in touch. When I began the search I had one year of reserves to live off of. With only three months left I am in dire straits. Any suggestions will certainly be welcomed. Thanking you very much in advance.
As you can see, through your challenging job search, the economy has created a disaster for most jobseekers and it is particularly tough for the 50 plus demographic. Being in dire straits calls for some really direct strategic measures.
1) If you have three months left of reserves, you need, first and foremost, to figure out how you will survive, if, in fact you don’t land a job soon. Do you have family or friends to move in with? Are you supporting a family? If so, is there family somewhere else in the US that they can live with while you continue to search for work? Many, many people and families are moving into survival mode and for most, that means consolidating all resources into one family pool. No honor lost in that…it is a move back to depression era family structure.
2) Since you failed to stay in touch with past contacts, now is the time to crank up those connections. As long as you had decent relationships in the past, there are some great vehicles for reuiniting with past colleagues, clients, suppliers, etc. One resource is www.LinkedIn.com. It is common practice to connect with as many people as you have had business or personal relationships in the past.
Another excellent tool is www.Facebook.com. Once you are connected on Facebook, you’ll never have to worry about keeping track of someone’s email address again. Many companies are using Facebook as an outreach tool, so don’t be shy about connecting.
Finally, if you had very good connections in high school or university, and if you can’t find those people on Facebook or Linked In, head over to www.Classmates.com. You might find some good contacts there.
3) At 55, you are at an age disadvantage. You don’t say what you did in manufacturing, but if you were sharp in a particular field, focus on that area and then see where there might be a match in the ONLY hot industries today: Healthcare and Allied Healthcare (including medical devices — smaller companies are growing quickly and their manufacturing and distribution demands are beyond their capabilities); alternative and renewable energy, and any of the companies that feed into that field; and private education.
4) Be prepared to move. There are jobs, but you have to be willing to go to them. Broaden your search to states that you might never have considered in the past.
5) See if there are ANY consulting groups that could use your particular niche of knowledge.
6) Look at any hobby or task that you do well and see if you can generate some immediate income. Are you proficient with tools? Spring is here — perhaps you are genius with prepping bikes or motorcycle spring tune-ups. Perhaps you can join demolish crews who have to empty out foreclosed homes? What resources do YOU have that you can offer as a side business while you look for employment.
7) Finally, walk your search. Beat the streets. Most jobs will NOT be advertised on the online boards. MANY companies are not paying money to put ads with paid searches. Identify as many individual, smaller to mid-size companies as you can, and either go directly to their website or directly to their human resources manager (if you are lucky, they are still to small to have an HR manager and you’ll be talking to the finance manager) and see where their needs might be able to match with your skills sets.
Hope that gives you a few ideas.
Best of success. It is really tough out there, but there is a little movement. Keep strong and you’ll make it through.