The marketplace is strong compared to 10, 5, or even 1 year ago. With a strong marketplace comes greater opportunity for those who need or want to better themselves. As you reach 50 and older, there are certain things you need to know and do. These are the realities of the job market for older and talented professionals:
- The higher the job and pay you aspire to, the longer the job search
- There are many jobs available, but hiring managers are being very picky
- Your experience is the primary driver and must define your strategy
- Your next job may or may not be at the level and pay you anticipate
- Your career plan should consider the next 10 or more years, not just the next job
- You may need to make compromises and alternatives due to family considerations, changes in location, health issues, industry volatility, economic status, and the like.
The strategies you deploy will determine your degree of success. Consider the following:
- Sharpen your skills sets: Make sure you’re up-to-date in technology and required knowledge within your function. One question answered “I don’t know” is deadly.
- Demonstrate experiences toward solutions: Present yourself as a problem-solver who has gotten terrific results. Give measurable examples that parallel the needs of the manager.
- Be a “supporter” not a “competitor”: Market yourself as a support to others – boss peers and subordinates. Help them get promoted and you might move with them.
- Show that you are flexible: Give examples of a quick response to a problem in the past, where you provided new ways of operating that gave a competitive edge.
- Emphasize “the team” effort: Hiring managers look for someone to contribute to the group results and “fit” the organizational culture. You want the light to shine on others first, then on you.
- Anticipate a diminished title or pay level: Leave the title and pay discussion until the offer, then see if you can move the bar higher. Chances are there is another candidate right behind you who will accept the job in a millisecond.
- Look for the “special” situation: Examples of an opportunity – A family-owned company where the younger generation is taking over and needs guidance. Or, the business that has a problem that you have successfully solved somewhere else. Or, the transitional situation that requires an experienced hand during a major change effort.
- 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 again, is shrinking.
Take a hard look at your career situation for the next 5, 10 or 15 years. Can you remain in your current position, move up, or be expected to make way for others? Rather than have someone else make the decision for you, plan where you want to be and how to get there with a coach.
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