Some of you know that I have decided that retiring at this time of my life, is not for me. Still have plenty of time left on for a solid second career. I have read plenty about the state of the economy and the job market out there. For me, I have been isolated from that because I worked at my last place of employment for 28+ years. My journey to starting that second career has been an eye opening experience.
- 40 is the old 50: Back in the day, people in their 50′s used to find employment difficult. My research has indicated that the threshold has moved to 40′s. So, for me just tipped into his 50′s, I get to face a bigger challenge.
- Don’t think that your old paycheck is going to be your new paycheck: For anyone that thinks that they are going to see more (or even about the same), you better check your expectations at the door. I met a few folks in my networking that complained that they were offered positions that were $20K less than they made doing exactly the same thing they were doing at their last place of employment. I never thought that I would be making the same amount of money I was, that would be expecting too much. I do expect to get a fair wage for the work that I am going to be asked to do. Nothing more! I have done the research on-line and feel comfortable with the salary expectations that I will likely see.
- Experience is key: I have had a diverse background within those 28 years, but even that sometimes excludes me from working in a different industry than before. Since I was in corporate America, I am less likely to get a social sector job. Since I was in manufacturing of semi-conductors, I am less likely to get a manufacturing job in pharmaceuticals. Since I was have management experience in information technology, I am less likely to get a management position in call centers, warehouse operations or logistics. I know this from the simple email back on my resume, “you don’t have experience in XXX.” I did not have experience in those areas before I started either.. I can learn, I can take the experiences that I do have and apply and adapt. I am a bright and capable person.
- There is a black hole in cyberspace: No matter how many times you apply there will be times that you just will not get an answer. I am not sure that the job application and submittal system the companies are using work as they should. Since most have some sort of automated system, you would think you would get a message that informs you of status. Have your application, reviewing your application and rejecting application. I have seen the received message from many of the applications I have submitted. After that, well, what for it; nothing.
So, what to do:
- Get out and make contact with hiring companies: Linkedin does a pretty good job of contacting your network to job openings. They even have recommendations for who in your network that can potential help with the hiring manager. I have done a little digging and have been able to actually reach out and touch folks. The are so many social tools that can help you. Some would say this seems like stalking, not if you do it right. Reaching out in a professional manner about potential openings or even openings that you have seen could help you get passed the black hole.
- Don’t act your age: Stereotypes are out there for a reason, well most of the time. If you are older, than don’t act older. Have the energy and drive that the hiring folks are looking for. Get formal with the new social tools and network. Don’t think that they will come to you. You have to want it! I have heard from some of my friends my age that it is tough out there, those younger job applicants are stealing all the jobs. Well, if you want to beat them, than you better act like them (and you have one better – you have the experience to back it up).
I have been fortunate enough to get passed the black hole a few times. I have been called for interviews! Nothing sounds better than hearing a voice on the other end, ask you if you would like to come in an interview for the position you have applied for. You pretty much walk on the clouds after that call. Reality starts to set in.. Time to get prepared. Clothes all dry cleaned? Haircut? Research the position? Company? Get your questions in order? Get prepared! The last couple of times, I have made it to the short-list of candidates (more interviews). Then you sit and wait for a decision to be made and hopefully in your favor. I still have not gotten that message that says – “Congrats – we would like to hire you.” I will keep on trying.