Some of the realities of the job market are:
- The higher your current job and pay, the longer the job search
- Jobs are not being filled quickly, but deferred for longer periods
- Age and experience are coupled and must drive your strategy
- Your next job may not be at the same level or pay
- Your planning should consider the next 10 or more years, not just the next job
So what can you do to improve your situation? Here are a few of steps to consider:
- Sharpen your skills sets: Those who have been in place for a while and are looking for another position may not know how to put a strategy together. You’ll need help.
- Present yourself as an experienced manager: Make your age work for you not against you. Present yourself as a problem-solver who has gotten terrific results. Suggest in your resume and interviews that you are a contributor in business situations that may need an experienced hand.
- Be a “supporter” not a “competitor”: Convey your “helping hand” to younger managers you may be working for in the new company. Market yourself as a support to others. Never, ever suggest that you could be their replacement. It’s an opportunity killer. Help them get promoted and you might move with them.
- Demonstrate that you are flexible: A common question will be if you are too rigid for the fast changing organization. Give examples of a quick response to a problem in the past. Provide situations where you jumped ahead in a new way of operating that gave a competitive edge. But don’t compete with the hiring manager, only add-value.
- Discuss and name individuals you have helped: Demonstrate that you have assisted others to succeed, whether they are bosses, peers or subordinates. Hiring managers are looking for a team player but it’s especially important with an older candidate. You want others’ light to shine, not yours.
- Anticipate a diminished title or pay level: You may get a same-level job and pay, but don’t expect it. Leave the title and pay discussion until the offer, then see if you can move the bar higher, but don’t push it. Chances are there is another candidate right behind you who will accept the job in a millisecond.
- Look for the “special” situations: Examples – A family-owned company where the younger generation is taking over and needs guidance. Or, the business that has a problem that you have solved somewhere else. The transitional situation that requires an experienced hand during a change is your best opportunity.
- Plan for a continuum out to age 65 or 70. Your strategy may change from climbing the success ladder to playing out your productive years leading to retirement. Choose your plan carefully, as the time to change direction one more time is shrinking.
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