Baby boomers faced with the prospect of job searching—in some cases for the first time in years—need to employ more sophisticated tactics in an overall job searching strategy.
The days of relying strictly on a resume are long gone. A well-written resume is still important. However it’s only one tool in a job search strategy. To really compete with younger job candidates, baby boomers need to update their job search tactics. This often means incorporating social media, boosting their education and increasing networking activity for an effective job search strategy.
Social Media Skills
A lot of older workers haven’t jumped on the social media bandwagon. That’s understandable. But learning to use social media properly is a necessary job search tactic if you want to boost your chances of getting a new job quickly.
The good news is that it’s actually fairly simple. The first step should be establishing a LinkedIn profile. LinkedIn should complement your resume, not replace it. One of the LinkedIn features that baby boomers can really use to their advantage is the ability to post recommendations.
Previous and current co-workers and managers can write glowing recommendations about your work performance. This is great because it lets someone else brag about you. It also gives baby boomers an upper hand. Recently graduated job searchers may be younger than you, but when it comes to work history they can’t compete.
A mature worker can really capitalize on these recommendations and prospective employers are likely to read them if your LinkedIn profile is interesting. That’s a good way to turn age to your advantage.
Get Back On the Education Train
One of the issues that baby boomers face can be lack of education. In the 60’s and 70’s it was common for capable individuals to get great jobs with just a high school education. Many of those people proved to be exceptionally competent. They rose into corporate ranks and often managed people who had tertiary qualifications.
But when baby boomers have to go back into a highly competitive job market without formal qualifications they face a serious disadvantage.
To become more competitive you could seek recognition for prior learning. You could complete a short but highly regarded course specifically in your area of expertise. Your experience could enable you to do post-graduate study or take part in senior management courses in business or management. Starting a full degree may not be especially attractive, but there are many other options available to you. Shorter courses offer flexibility and can augment a resume that features a lot of experience but little post-secondary education.
Networking can produce great results when searching for a new job. If you’re back in the job market after years of employment it’s an important step. You may have ignored networking opportunities when you were comfortably employed … a big but common mistake! But networking is all about relationships. If you developed good relationships with colleagues, suppliers and people from other companies, there is your network. Just be careful who you talk to if you are still employed and looking around for another job. However if you are coming back into the workforce you can make contact with as many of the people in your network as you can. You never know who might hold the key to your next job.
Use your LinkedIn profile to leverage new contacts within your desired industry. And what about some good old-fashioned person-to-person networking? It’s important to reach out to professional contacts and have a chat or arrange to catch up.
Knowing someone within an organization who will recommend you is still one of the best ways into a company. The recommendation of a valued employee is always going to improve your chances.
If you integrate social media with continuing education and good networking practices, you’ll be a lot better positioned to find a good job than many of your contemporaries.
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