Advanced excerpt from Find Work at 50+
The changing world of work
The world of work has changed. There is much more competition for jobs. Many jobs have disappeared, either due to technological advances (we no longer need large volumes of workers and certain kinds of jobs) or outsourced to another country.
There is less security, less full-time working and more contracting, zero hour contracts and people being underemployed. We need to be ready to accept short-term contracts, consultancy and self-employment.
This book is titled ‘find work’ and it may be that you need to create your own business. Job Centres are encouraging people to set up their own business, possibly to get people off the unemployment register. Nonetheless, from dog-walking to IT support, you could take charge of your income generation. Later I’m going to share a list of more than 50 ways we could earn money, and this may be the spark to get you started. [b]See Chapter 13, ‘Alternatives to a permanent full-time job’.
Being clear on what you want
I regularly talk with people who struggle in their job search. Months have gone by and they still haven’t got a job offer, and not surprisingly they are losing motivation and are getting despondent.
Too many people are vague about the type of work they seek; they tell me they are looking for something interesting that pays at least a certain amount. But it is far too vague, for me, and anyone else to help them.
When I ask about their job search approach, I find they are taking a scattergun approach, sending off their CV to any and all jobs that even remotely match their background. If this sounds like you, I want you to stop, take a break, and start again.
This break isn’t for a holiday, but I want you to take a week away from looking for a job and work on your preparation materials before an active return to your job search.
During this week off I want you to remove your CV from every online site and review before you start your job search campaign afresh. Think of it like taking your house off the market, clearing the clutter, painting dark walls neutral and putting plants by the front door. You then get new photos and get the house back on sale.
Chapter 3 will help to focus on your goal – what job you want. But first let’s have a look at what you have been doing.
ACTIVITY 1: Measurement
Do you know?
- How many jobs did you apply for in the last 1/3/6 months?
- From this list, how many were a great match for your skills and experience?
- How many first interviews did you get?
- How many second interviews did you get?
- Why didn’t you get the job offer?
Make a note and if you haven’t been measuring, start now.
Then review how you spent your time. What percentage of your time was spent looking online and applying to job ads; how much time did you spend contacting companies direct?
And now consider your applications.
- To what extent were applications, CV and cover letter tailored to the specific job?
- How much research do you do before applying?
- Do you have a LinkedIn profile with at least 200 connections?
- Do you know at least 20 organisations that you would like to work for?
- Do you know at least one person who works at each of these organisations?
- How many people did you connect with last week?
A lot of questions, but it is important to take stock and understand where you are now, like weighing and measuring yourself before you start your weight-loss campaign.
As you work through this book, each chapter will get you to review what you have been doing and to focus on how to make changes to increase your chance of success.
21st-century job search
It may be many years since you have looked for a job, and you may not appreciate how many things have changed.
Now it’s less about having generic skills and more about an area of specialism. Employers are looking for people who can demonstrate value from day one in a particular niche. Undertake research to find out what’s hot, and use time out of work to get up to speed in a new topic, and demonstrate this knowledge through sharing your knowledge, perhaps through online contributions. More on this in Chapter 10, ‘Promoting yourself and being found’.
Recruitment practices have changed a great deal over recent years. There are lots of jobs available, but they aren’t on job boards – employers have found more cost-effective ways to find jobs.
The old way
- Find jobs in newspapers and register on job sites.
- Create a CV and generic cover letter.
- Submit and await a reply.
The new way
- Be very clear on the job you want and why, plus the type of organisation you want to work in.
- Understand your value and be clear on how you stand out from other applicants.
- Create your publicity material – CV, LinkedIn – and ensure they are ‘branded’.
- Develop a job-search (marketing) strategy to cover both online and offline areas.
- Make sure you are found online – LinkedIn and more.
- Prepare for getting in contact – you can speak eloquently and succinctly on what you seek, you are ready for interviews, both face-to-face, phone and via Skype.
- Be proactive – contact companies direct, make contacts.
- Be open to considering alternatives such as short-term assignments.
Using techniques from marketing can seem alien. Many of us don’t like selling ourselves but we need to develop these skills to find the hidden employment opportunities and also to make ourselves attractive to the people with the power to offer us a job.
Pre-order your book from Amazon I’ll be including some free extras later but once ordered you’ll be in line for these too!