I recently created a Career Renovation program to help older people get the job they want. It was a way of sharing my experience with many people at once after years of helping older workers, one at a time, to make career transitions.
I was motivated to do it because I'd talked to one too many older workers who were not getting the jobs they wanted and I had seen one too many really bad resumes that people were using.
As part of my preparation and planning I started looking at the comments posted on older workers' Facebook pages, and saw the same pattern repeated.
"No-one wants to employ you once you are over 50."
"Younger managers are prejudiced against you when you are older."
"Employers don't appreciate the skills and experience of older workers."
"The Government isn't doing enough to help us. The government organisations don't help."
"No one loves me everybody hates me, think I'll go eat worms."
Well OK, that last one never really popped up, but they all started to read just like that old children's song. Not getting a job was always because of something external.
What no-one seemed to recognise was that they were doing this to themselves! They were doing the same things over and over and getting the same results….No job.
So I created a program…basically all the strategies and tips I could possibly share in a simple format, available for someone to work through at their own pace so they could turn things around and give themselves a really good chance of success.
The interesting thing is the people who joined the program are those who want to take their career opportunities from good to great, not those who need to move their career prospects from really bad to acceptable!
What does this tell us? Could it be that those who are really stuck in unemployment or unhappy employment just don't realise that they have to do something about it themselves. Maybe they don't realise that it is hard work for anyone, at any level, to develop and manage a successful career. Maybe they genuinely think it should be handed to them on a plate, with whipped cream on top.
So, recognising that the people who really need this message won't be the ones reading it, here are my seven main tips for those who want to get a job they want and will find really fulfilling.
- Understand the reality of what is going on for you, right now, so you can avoid the same problems. Is it the work itself, the type of organisation or the industry/profession that is making you unhappy? Or is it a clash with an individual, or a style of mangement that you don't like?
- Know what you DO want, and have a clear vision of your future.
- Have a deep appreciation of what you can offer and be able to articulate it.
- Recognise what is going on in your mind that may be causing you problems eg lack of confidence, negativity, self-sabotage.
- Find out and use the strategies that are currently working best for resumes, interviews and networking. For a start, this means every resume must be tailored for each job application.
- Ensure that the way you present yourself and your self-marketing is all congruent with how you want to be perceived.
- Even when you are happily employed always look and plan ahead, keeping your resume and networking current and dynamic.