The whole game has changed
Over the past several months, many have been faced with a job loss or are feeling insecure where they are in their career and find themselves “in the market”. For some, this is a new experience after years with one employer. Those who haven’t been accustomed to making job changes are now facing this reality – and frankly, for some, it is a confusing process that has changed so much over recent years.
One startling statistic: more seasoned and tenured workers (I am being polite in not saying “older”) have been the victims of job cuts in this recession than in any other recent recession. The 45-50-60 + age group – more males than females – has been most affected. The unemployment rate for workers 65 + hit 5.1 percent last December, a 31-year high, according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics. When employers look to cut costs, it has been the more tenured employees earning the most who are cut.
If this is you, or someone you know who lost their job or is insecure with their present situation, perhaps these tips will help:
Most important – have a plan & direction – Know the ideal job and career for you, have a plan for your search and work at it every day. If you can’t seem to find your own direction, get help doing this. You will be dead in the water without clear direction and a plan. This goes for any age range.
There are plenty of jobs out there – just not where you used to look – Don’t buy into the noise that there are no jobs out there. Not true. I monitor the job market daily and the number of job postings or near-future hirings have been good. Not as robust as a few years back, but still very good, and better than other larger markets in NYS. You may have been accustomed to looking in the help-wanted section of a newspaper, but you won’t find many jobs there as it is more efficient to use technology when hiring. Check job boards like CareerBuilder, Hot Jobs, etc. Check websites for local recruiters as well.
Your resume: 1-2-3 pages – it doesn’t matter anymore – In the past, the advice has always been: keep a resume to one page. Not so any longer; in fact, just the opposite. It is important to fully “sell” your experience, skills, strengths and accomplishments, and not be harnessed by the one-page or two-page rule. Most resumes are uploaded into programs that destroy the formatting anyway.
Know what to expect when you apply – Don’t expect to send your resume today by email and receive a phone call tomorrow. It is common to send a resume and wait weeks for a response. This sounds unbelievable, but true. Also, given that it is so easy for people to just fire resumes to any opening – even those they are unqualified for – human resources departments are flooded and often do not or simply can’t acknowledge or even communicate back to an applicant. This is why you should always follow up!
Know technology – To be competitive, it is imperative that one have a good working knowledge of the popular technology and be able to sell this as a skill on your resume and in an interview. At a minimum, you should be proficient in Microsoft Word, Excel and PowerPoint. You should also be familiar with email programs, preferably Microsoft Outlook.
Be careful not to “date” yourself – So important, and often overlooked. Some job seekers don’t keep up with the latest protocols and “date” themselves. This could be anything from sending a resume by US mail when the job posting requested it be via email to not having your own email address, but using your spouse’s address, to not including your cell phone number or email address on your resume. Little touches – very important.
Even with new technology, networking still rules – Nothing beats those connections you have made throughout your life, and the new connections you will make if you are actively engaged in networking. Studies show that between 65-80 percent of jobs are found through plain, old-style networking – pressing the flesh, meeting others, helping others, staying in contact and following up on contacts made.
Dan Moran is president & founder of Next-Act, a career management & transition firm located in Colonie. You can reach him at 641.8968 or firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.next-act.com.