In developing my top ten keys for Boomers finding a job I realized that establishing a proper mindset is critical before undertaking the tasks. This applies for any major endeavor.
How you view your skills, talents and experience in the context of current job market realities will keep you real in the best possible way, allow you to sell yourself convincingly and give you hope.
A proper mindset provides a filter from which all the tasks, details and attitudes emanate. This is especially true for Boomers facing the challenges of finding work in an ageist environment.
So before you start the heavy lifting, ruminate, meditate and cogitate on these three mindset keys:
#1 I have a lot to offer.
You do. No doubt about it. Yet, it’s human nature to take for granted what we have, what we can do and what we have done. In fact, it is more common to focus on what we believe we lack.
Be your own mother, cheerleader or agent. Think of your accomplishments. Think of the skills and talents you have developed. Think of what you know you’re best at doing and what others have praised you for (both macro and micro).
These can be specific skills ranging from using Excel to programming in C++.
Or it can be managing people, creative talents, problem solving or other “soft skills”.
Take great care in considering attributes that you may take for granted, perhaps because they come easy to you, are automatic or just a fundamental needed for the job.
From my own personal experience, many of the talents and skills I bring to the table I undervalue. “It’s comes easy to me”, or “of course I can do it and I do it all the time. What’s the big deal?”
For those who can’t do it and for those who need it, those abilities are a big deal. One that they will hire you for. Showcase them, tout them and put them in their most impressive light.
Establishing this mindset will pump you up, help you identify and fully promote your attributes and will provide resume writing, job searching and interviewing power, confidence and context.
#2 Experience + Age = High Value
We know the myths and assumptions facing those over 50 (and even 40). They range from false and outdated stereotypes to outright ageism.
Once again, flip it.
If you got it, flaunt it. Call attention to the virtues of all your years of experience and maturity. Flaunt the diverse talents, wisdom and attitudes you can bring (Diversity and Inclusion is a hot target in many companies). Note that your current life situation may afford you more energy, focus and flexibility than other workers and you may value the opportunity more than any before it. Educate prospective employers that older workers are statistically more likely to stay at a job longer than a millennial.
These are just a few ideas. You can develop more and have them in your repertoire for job interviews. The point is to sell your age and experience. If an employer is ageist, targeting a millennial or just doesn’t get it, you’re screwed anyway. But where there is a fit, you not only level the playing field, but raise your confidence and showcasing your attributes will likely make the difference.
#3 Be open to anything & avoid expecting the traditional
This isn’t so much a Boomer issue, as it’s the way of the modern world.
There is no standard anymore for any job, position or workflow. There are no paradigms to shift because the world of work is perpetually shifting.
So be wide open in your own thinking and be receptive to (or even propose yourself) what job, type of job, type of situation or compensation amount and scenario you’d be willing to accept.
If you’re seeking your old job, you may not find it and you may realize this only after your job search has gone stale (recruiters take note of how long you’ve been looking). (Kathy Blog)
The list of new possibilities is almost infinite and you must be open to that which you wouldn’t have been willing to accept in the past. Possibilities that may turn out to be a huge blessing such as:
The opportunity could be as a contract worker (e.g. freelancer, consultant, temp, project focused, etc.). This may be less than ideal, but it’s something and it may get your foot in the door leading to a full time job.
It may be a position below your last one, but consider it anyway. This may be a chance to advance to a higher position. The job title and responsibilities (and chances to shine) may be equal to or higher than your position at your former employer. It could be a stepping-stone to another job at another company (not unusual today) or a launch pad to getting your foot in the door of a hot industry/business/start up. Last but not least some jobs may be better than no job.
There may be a start up endeavor that can use your skills, experience and wisdom…possibly on the cheap. But part of that cheap salary structure may be stock. If it’s a hit then you cash in and probably have a fulfilling blast at the same time. What’s more, working for a start up will look great on your resume.
It could be a radically different type of job and type of business, but same/similar skill sets and experience are required. This is a very common opportunity nowadays. Jumping industries is not a big deal anymore. In fact this can be an asset. From CEO’s to sales people to supervisors to line workers, it’s the core attributes employers want.
It might be a position you didn’t even know existed, in a company you never imagined, operating in a way you couldn’t dream of, providing a product or service you never heard of and can’t imagine how anyone would make money from.
Perhaps it’s a position or service you come up with. In your research, networking and from listening to the needs and challenges of an employer, you may be able to come up with a solution that they will want to jump on.
It may be something totally unexpected a hiring person or boss offers you. Be ready and open for it and for goodness sake, don’t say no right away. At least say you’ll think about it and do think about it. At worst, counter propose.
These are just a few possibilities. They’re changing everyday in ways unimaginable a week ago. Be open and manage your expectations.
Mindsets launch you with power, confidence and on a trajectory toward expected or unexpected success in your search.