You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to know that the rules for job hunting and getting rehired in this economy have changed, especially for people over 40. Not that the “old rules” were ever written down anywhere formally, but various authors have educated us over the years about what a resume should look like and contain, how to behave in an interview, what to write in a thank you letter after an interview or how to negotiate with a potential employer.
What are today’s “new rules”?
Here are some of the ones I’ve noticed and written about in my recent book called Five Strategies for Staying Employed in Today’s Economy. Since I completed the book I’ve noticed some more.
- Lifetime Employment is a 20th century concept – there’s no such thing as lifetime employment for this generation. So expect to change jobs at least one more time before you retire and become really good at: networking, presenting yourself, showcasing your skills, learning to do what employers are paying top dollar for. Be flexible and open to options you might not have considered before.
- Many people over 40 will not get another “full time” job – Many people I’ve worked with who are over 40 are being offered “contract” jobs rather than “full time jobs”. Many employers don’t seem to want you to retire on their watch. It looks like what I call an “evil game of musical chairs”.
- Today’s salaries are often disappointing – With the large number of available unemployed people and the massive amounts of jobs that have be outsourced overseas, employers are offering pathetic salaries and getting away with it.
- If you haven’t done a particular skill “on the job” for a previous employer, it’s often a challenge to get hired to do that skill on your next job – Even though you’ve taken a class and learned a particular skill, it doesn’t seem to count as far as potential employers go unless you’ve actually done that skill on the job for a previous employer. Don’t let that deter you from learning new skills. Just be sure to find a local non-profit or even a friend who will allow you to do a project for them using your new skills. Then be sure to get a testimonial for the work you’ve done.
- Using social media effectively is mandatory – Become familiar with blogs, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and find out how they can benefit you and your job search. Social media offers you access to people you may not have access to in any other way, who could be very helpful to you.
- Being healthy and energetic is crucial – If you don’t have your health – who cares how good your skills are? Take incredibly good care of yourself and your career. If you’re between jobs use some of the time you have to cultivate your health. Start that workout program you keep promising yourself you’re going to start. Lose those extra pounds. Improve the quality of your sleep. The payoff will be more than worth it. You’ll look better, and you’ll come across as younger and more energetic.