FINDING YOUR NICHE IN THE 50+ WORK FORCE

FINDING YOUR NICHE IN THE 50+ WORK FORCE

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So, you're excited about the thought of finding a great job! The trouble is you don't really know where to begin. This article is dedicated to helping you reach your goal.

 

STEPS TO SUCCESS

The mere idea of what's involved in securing a job can be daunting. Don't be disheartened! If you divide your efforts into small, achievable steps, each accomplishment will sustain your momentum. You'll steadily climb the ladder to success. Before you know it, you'll be punching that time clock on your new job.

 

STEP 1 - LIST YOUR SKILLS

The first step is to take an inventory of your abilities. You want to write down your talents, skills, and experience. You may be gifted when it comes to leadership. This is demonstrated in the work you did for your church. Try to be specific when you state your role. For example, you might use the term "Project Leader." If you had to use certain technology in the course of your volunteer service, you could note "Computer Savvy." If you've worked as a "Tutor," record this. Mentally go through your accomplishments and write them down, even if they seem insignificant. Accomplishments indicate ability.

 

STEP 2 - WRITE A RIVETING RESUME

There are generally two types of resumés: functional and chronological.

A functional resumé is organized by skills, as opposed to dates. This is the format you use if you don't have a job-specific history. Here's where your list of skills comes in. List the most important skills first, followed by the accomplishments in which those skills were used. Highlight each skill with a bullet point.

A chronological resumé is used if you have a consistent work history, and wish to remain in the same field. State your most recent job, and go back 10 years. Noting a history beyond 10 years will highlight your age. For each position, show your job title, employer, and years of employment. Then bullet-point your accomplishments, describe your responsibilities, and summarize the results. You can mention any challenges you had and how you overcame them.

 

STEP 3 - RESEARCH ONLINE

The best sites for locating jobs and posting your resumé are monster.com, linkedin.com, careerbuilder.com, and craigslist.com. These user-friendly sites provide step-by-step instructions that are easy to follow. First, search for jobs that reflect your interest and abilities. Next, write down all the contact information for Job #1 on note paper. You'll need this for creating your cover letter, which comes next.

 

STEP 4 - CREATE A CAPTIVATING COVER LETTER

Address your letter to the contact person mentioned in the job description for Job #1. Mention the exact job you are applying for and any corresponding reference code. Start your letter with a short introduction of 1-2 sentences, where you tell the employer the job you're applying for. Then write a brief description of your skills, and how you'll use them on your new job. Use some of the key words you see in the job posting. Lastly, thank the contact person, and provide your e-mail address and phone number.

After creating your cover letter for Job #1, repeat the process for other jobs you're interested in. You might set a goal of doing this for 3 jobs per day.

 

STEP 5 - POST YOUR COVER LETTER AND RESUME

Now, post your cover letter and resumé on monster.com, linkedin.com, careerbuilder.com, and craigslist.com. Posting on all 4 websites will give you access to the most jobs. Write on your "contact note" the date of your posts for each job.

 

STEP 6 - SET UP A "TICKLER FILE"

You can use your contact notes to create a "tickler file." An accordion file is an excellent tool for this. It's an expandable, stand-up, open file with numbered pockets for each day of the month.

Now, take your contact note for Job #1, and count 7 days from the date of your post. This will be your 1-week follow-up date. For example, if you posted your resumé on 8/1/14, count 7 days from there, and you get a date of 8/8/14. Your follow-up note will go in pocket #8. On 8/8/14, you'll retrieve your note from pocket #8, and make your follow-up call to the contact person. As you introduce yourself, be sure to smile, so your voice sounds cheerful. Then, say that you're following up on the job you applied for. Note: Follow-up is very important in a job search. Many people mistakenly think that if they don't hear back from an employer, it indicates rejection. This isn't necessarily true. Employers can receive hundreds of resumés a day. It's easy for yours to get lost in the shuffle. Following up with a phone call can pave the way to your new job. So, keep a running tickler file for each job you post, and follow up accordingly.

 

STEP 7 - CONSIDER A TEMPORARY JOB

This is an ideal way to get your foot in the door of an employer! As a contract worker or "temp," you get a chance to try a job on for size. If it's a good fit for you and the client, it can lead to the offering of a permanent job. Even if you only work for the assigned time set by the temporary agency, you've still gained valuable experience toward a permanent job. A temp job can provide you with a networking opportunity. It's also something you can add to a resumé!

 

STEP 8 - POLISH YOUR INTERVIEWING SKILLS

Let's say the job angels are with you, and you now have an appointment for an interview. It's time to hone your interviewing skills. Start by having an interview with a friend. Have in mind your strengths and assets. Then briefly describe yourself and what you can bring to the company. A fun way to practice is to have your friend write down sample questions on note papers, and place them in a box. Then, remove one question and give your answer. Ask your friend to critique your response, and make improvements accordingly. Another interesting way to tweak your interview skills is to time your responses to a question. First, answer a question within 2 minutes, then 1 minute, then 30 seconds. This gives you practice at being concise and brief. You can also switch roles. You can act as the interviewer, with your friend as the applicant. This can provide insight into how best to answer a question. Here's one important tip: smile during your interview! Be positive and cheerful in your replies. Presenting yourself as upbeat will leave a good impression on your interviewer.

 

STEP 9 - POLISH YOURSELF

Now the day of the interview is fast approaching! Assess your appearance, and see if there are any improvements you can make. Take a look at your wardrobe, to ensure you have appropriate interview attire. Keep in mind the type of job you'll be interviewing for. You want a conservative look. Go shopping if you're not happy with what's in your closet. Get a new haircut if that can enhance your appearance. New clothes and a new cut can go a long way toward promoting confidence.

 

STEP 10 - ACE THAT INTERVIEW!

On the day of the interview, go easy on the perfume/cologne and accessories, such as jewelry. A heavy scent can trigger a headache in your interviewer. Excessive jewelry can be distracting. Put on a smile, and head out for your interview. Mentally repeat positive affirmations: "I'm going to have a great interview. I'm qualified and capable. I can do this job." Mentally "see" yourself being offered the job you're applying for. Creative visualization is a powerful tool that can attract your desired result.

 

STEP 11 - CELEBRATE!

So, you did it! You found your niche. Now it's time to celebrate your success. Congratulations to you!

 

© Foto: Volker Witt - Fotolia.com

Editor, 09/08/2014

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