If you want to know how to prep for a job search over 55, I have just been through the process of getting a new job and, though it was difficult, it was also a lot of fun. And I was successful.
There are many things in my life I am grateful for. One is that we don’t have to put our age on resumes and job applications anymore. But still, when I started to search for a full-time job a few months ago, I was terrified.
Why Would I Be Frightened?
Bitches, I’m 60. Six-zero. I work in marketing. Mar. Ke. Ting. A few years ago, I had an amazing young human tell me she aged out of her marketing job at 35. Essentially saying that men could age but women couldn’t in marketing.
But, also, many women my age seemed to be out of work, sliding down that slippery slope toward a McJob, selling their assets, downscaling. One friend, a perfectly capable woman, was out of work for two years before landing a support position much below her previous pay grade. The world, my friends, is awash with Mommy Issues.
The dark side? A study in Australia noted that women over 55 were the fastest-growing homeless population.
And. Further. Also. I work in Digital Marketing. Di. Gi. Tal. That means and in order (right now) marketing strategies, digital marketing plans, marketing campaigns, SEO, Blogging, Google My Business, Social Media, CPC advertising, content management, automation… Like the list goes on of jobs most of you picture being done by someone eating avocado toast and listening to the Black Eyed Peas. So, I was scared (even though I eat a lot of avocado toast and like the Black-Eyed Peas).
What I Do When I’m Scared
When I am afraid, I walk straight into the fire. Yes. It’s stupid. But that’s what I do.
SIDEBAR: Actually, my advice to you if you are scared: Just do one wee thing. Make a list of all the things and do one thing on it that is the least scary. Everyday. One wee thing.
Here is my prep for this successful search. I hope it helps another mature person who needs a job in a tricky industry. Honestly, there is an entire blog post on each of these points, so I will try to keep this series going as long as I have the bandwidth. So. Some tips.
How to Prep for a Job Search over 55
Decide What Job You Really Want
Sit down and visualize who and what you will be in the future. What job do you have? What kind of company do you work for? Are you in the office or remote? What challenges are you looking forward to? What do you want to learn? How will this new position build on your skills and strengths?
The power of your unconscious mind is effing stunning. Surprisingly, the job you get will look A LOT like the job you want. So, be clear. Stay with your vision adjusting as necessary to massive market shifts. But have faith. You will find what you want.
Please don’t hate on this point. I cannot recommend more strongly that you meditate daily. I don’t care what you’re OHMMING on. Just take time every day to ease your much beleaguered and worried mind. You need to be standing on solid ground emotionally. Meditate.
If you don’t know how to start meditating, just hop on Google Play and search for ‘meditation’ in apps. There’s gotta be a million of them.
Before you go to sleep at night, think of three good things that happened to you that day. If you’re feeling shattered by anything, stop. Think about the things that make you happy. Think about the things you’re grateful for. Your kids, your pets, your favorite book, your sports team. Whatever brings you joy.
It’s never as bad as it seems. Having come back from the bad, I know. But having said that, I know that clinical depression is another kettle of fish, and you can’t just ‘grateful yourself’ out of it. I am here if you’re there. The door’s always open.
What’s Your Special Sauce? Use It In Your Job Search
I’m a marketer. I can’t help but have a section about the special sauce.
Distill your approach to work down to the central issue that motivates you most deeply. That becomes your mission.
- Do you care about the environment?
- Do you care about children?
- Do you care about getting your clients the most deductions you can?
- Do you care about being the best colourist in the GTA?
Decide what your mission is and state it plainly.
- Working tirelessly for environmental change.
- Guarding our future.
- Pay your fair share, but no more.
- Vibrant colour for the best you Toronto can offer.
In my search, I kept pushing: “Are we a fit?” I was saying in four words that I have an approach and a shit ton of skills to go with it. If we are on the same page regarding the process, let’s take this a step further. You know, see if we like each other.
Spruce It Up
Get the haircut. Buy the new suit. Get your colours done. Take some time with your appearance. You’ll feel better and be darn cuter, besides. Look like the success you are.
Get Your Shit Together
You need a few assets to take on a modern job search:
- Get that sucker up-to-date. (This is a whole post, seriously.)
- TOUCH UP YOUR PHOTO. Get a pro to take a shot to make you look like the best you that you have to offer. Here’s a great photographer guy.
- I am not kidding about your photo. I don’t care what industry you’re in.
- I recommend paying for a Linkedin membership for the duration of your job search.
- Make sure you set your profile to ‘Open For Work.’
If you’re worried about doing your resume, find someone who comes highly recommended and get that person to redesign yours for you. In general, my biggest advice for how to prep for a job search over 55, is this: If you’re worried or uncertain, get help.
A few tips that might help:
- Simple, minimal formatting, clean.
- Organize the resume based on the job, NOT the company. For example, I have been a Social Media Manager for various companies. So I list the position and refer to the companies as necessary.
- Emphasize skills and accomplishments
- “I managed a team of sixty people who exceeded performance expectations three years running.”
- “I grew website traffic by 200% in six months.”
- “As Project Lead, we brought the software to market on time with minimal bugs and high customer uptake.”
Career Snapshot/Selling Sheet
Along with my resume, I also created a snapshot sheet. There are quotes from clients, a quirkier pic, lists of skills, emphasized achievement, and a skill list in icons that takes up a quarter of the page.
This sheet was all about personality and quite a bit of fun. Also showcased my skills as a layout artist. So. Not for everyone but for those who have a lot to offer that a resume doesn’t seem to talk about.
Blog or Post Your Thoughts
Start talking on socials or on your own blog about your search. People will listen. Talk about what matters to you or something awesome that happened that day. Or something that intrigued you. Or even something that pissed you off.
I would recommend staying away from talking about being down because we can get addicted to pity, especially online. And pity will not get you a job.
And when you can, definitely talk about your type of job or your industry. Where do you see your industry going? Or what your kind of job can do to help any business. Blog. Miniblog. Whatever. Start talking.
For those of you in creative or marketing fields, make sure you have a lot of examples available on a site or an online portfolio. Here’s mine.
Talk to All Your Friends
Just let everyone know that you’re looking for a job, what kind of job you want, and when you can start, sort of thing. Send people emails and PMs. Your friends will help. You will meet a lot of people because of your darling friends. Say thank you. Be thankful.
That’s a start but I will stop here as we’re a bit long. If you were trying to find out how to prep for a job search over 55, I hope this helped. Good luck!