If you’re 50 or over and find yourself out of work due to a layoff or firing, you have some sobering choices to make. Times have changed. You can no longer just send out resumes, sit back and wait for the phone to ring. Chances are, the cushy career you had is gone, replaced by automation, outsourced overseas, or taken over by a recent college grad pulling in half your salary.
Many “outplaced” older workers are finding it really tough to get “back in the game.” And after a few months of unsuccessful job hunting, they lose their self-confidence and energy. Many simply give up and lose the “fire in the belly” they once had that earned them promotions and career success. If you’ve lost the will to fight, if all you’re doing is taking hourly temp jobs to merely survive and pay the bills, you need to re-energize and take steps to prepare for a better second half.
- Step 1. Acknowledge, feel and express your feelings—get rid of the emotional debris you’ve built up from your job loss.
- Step 2. Be aware of hindrances—things like “who will hire me at my age?”
- Step 3. Take stock of your skills and talents—things like your wisdom, ability to get things done. Till suggest taking a class or two or get recertified if necessary in your field.
- Step 4. Network, network, network.
In networking, Till suggests you “Fake it till you Make it”—look sharp, smile and speak as though you have already attained your goal. Fully exploit your elevator pitch, which should sound natural, unrehearsed and smooth (something you should have been practicing endlessly in front of a mirror, close friend or colleague). To ensure success, Till advises job seekers to follow this six-point approach:
- Be Prepared (with your latest resume fully vetted and a professional looking social media presence)
- Be Patient (don’t expect immediate results, even if you’re on your last dime)
- Be Authentic (be honest and transparent when networking)
- Be Present (being out of a job may be stressful, so handle you emotions productively and proactively)
- Be Dependable (even if you do volunteer work while looking for a job, be someone people can count on)
- Be Emotionally Generous (give people your full attention, don’t expect anything in return when you offer to help someone)
Till also notes that “enthusiasm on fire sells more than knowledge on ice.” In other words, be passionate when talking to others about your abilities and talents. Don’t just unemotionally rattle off your resume and degrees. Till even offers some sage advice on how to use LinkedIn and Facebook to your best advantage (make sure you’re LinkedIn profile is complete with professional looking photo and SEO friendly phrases). Same for Facebook—all professional with links to any industry articles you’ve written, new certifications, volunteer work you’re doing).
Out of work at 50? 60? Time to re-invent and re-invigorate yourself for a better second half.
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