Career advice for Mature Applicants
I am now at a stage of my life where any changes in one’s career can be for some, catastrophic. Now don’t be alarmed by my use of such a word, I am only expressing what one individual said to me after being made laid off at ‘ZERO’ notice having reached mid-life. The ceiling on the world caved in for this long standing successful professional.
Can you see where I am going with this? No? Ok, let me be clear.
Career advice; and I am speaking from experience here, is often geared towards the less mature members of our community and wider society. Now there’s nothing at all wrong with this, on the contrary; if you have perhaps left school with little in the way of recognised qualifications, or indeed have just gained that degree of choice, the next step is without doubt critical – I tell you we support this provision 100%. However what if you have been working for 30 years, still active, still driven and still believe that you are yet to fulfil your career ambitions? What about you, yes you!?
Time for some empathy. You have been recently laid off and now not currently employed; you still have a mortgage and other important financial commitments, teenagers still at home adding to the domestic overheads and stress, having real emotional and mental difficulty adjusting to this unwanted new status, sleep disruption, increased sensitivity about so much…
What to do? Well in my empathetic example above there are a host of issues that need examination and understanding. One can clearly identify that from the initial action, there’s an almost unlimited chain reaction that permeates so many areas of one’s life. Two things come to mind immediately. Safe guard your fiscal commitments as soon as possible (bear in mind communication is key!), but this is another topic for another day, and the other is more pertinent to this article; addressing the cause. Let’s prepare and get you back to work ASAP!
• NETWORK: At this stage of your career, you should have established a sound network of peers and professional points of reference. If not, don’t waste any time by promoting yourself in the areas of expertise that you represent or wish to be associated with. Internet sites; www.linkedin.com www.xing.com www.plaxo.com get your profile uploaded on www.zoominfo.com
• Before you shoot off and register your CV on job boards and with agencies – research them carefully. More importantly take a good look at your career document, a real close look. An S.O.S Star Tip… Your seasoned CV should be looking forward and NOT backwards. At this stage of your career, it’s not what you have done that ‘really’ matters, it is what ‘value add’ you can and will be perceived to be bringing to the corporate table. Need more on this? Get in touch ASAP!
• I am not going to teach you to suck eggs here, but the presentation of your CV is vital; at this stage and this relates to the above point, it can read like War and Peace if you are not too careful – the design and the content presented needs to be punchy, clear and must immediately resonate with the decision making reader (no one else really matters), so find out as much about who this person is and make every effort to reflect his or her ‘must haves’ and or needs – this is critical and dare I say often overlooked by recruitment agencies and even Search Consultants with; and I am generalising, have a greater interest in the fee generated than whether you will be in the next role over the next 3 – 5 years.
• How you ‘fit in’ will play a large part in the mind of the hiring authority – you are likely to be hired in a position of some authority, so ADAPTATION is important. Research the company and access all areas, from culture, market share, internal people dynamics to turnover and bank this information. A good tool is to create a matrix on an A4 document sheet with headers of the areas of analysis required for maximum probing and use this as a prompt in any interview you have successfully achieved in attaining. Know your place in the pecking order and where possible try to gain information on who may report to you and who you will be reporting to. Two challenges here from the off – get it right and being able to convey your understanding of both and being able to morph with your audience appropriately can be the choice of your hired or frankly undesired!
• By now you will know that PERSONAL PRESENTATION is another critical tool in your career search bag. Remember you are a senior applicant; depending on what role you are seeking, please please look the part! From shoes to watch, from finger nails to body language – first impressions really do count. An S.O.S Star Tip… From the receptionist to your audience, always say “Hello/good morning/afternoon, how are you?” wait for the surprised look then cheerful reply, then introduce your good self. Apply this secret of disarming your audience then let S.O.S and those that matter know if it made a difference. We take no credit for the style you may choose to employ, but do try it and see what happens. Ensure good eye to eye contact throughout and be cheerful, bright and emit a can-do attitude. It will be sensed and will go a long way to determining a positive outcome.
• Finally, do not proceed in a haphazard fashion, you cannot afford to hit and miss now. Gather your researched enterprises, agencies, consultants, job boards, networking sites and work them like there’s no tomorrow. S.O.S Star Tip… Preview success and success will transpire.
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