Job Seekers over the age of 45 take note- being older in the workplace can truly be an asset. I’ve been working with job seekers for years, and the fear of age discrimination is one of the most prevalent concerns for both younger and older job seekers. The way to overcome any negatives associated with your age, is to fight back with a strong understanding of the benefits that your age and experience lend to a future employer. Check out the great article by Laurie Kellman of the associated press that shows how being a bit older at work can often be a big plus. Here’s an excerpt:
Nearly half of those born between 1946 and 1964 now work for a younger boss, and most report that they are older than most colleagues. But 61 percent of the baby boomers surveyed said their age is not an issue at work, while 25 percent called it an asset.
Only 14 percent classified getting older as a workplace liability.
In fact, most of those who have reached age 50 noted that co-workers seek their counsel more now than when they were younger. And a third said their employer treats them with greater respect.
And then, if you’re looking for work right now and over the age of 45, sit down and make a list of the positive attributes that you bring to work, specifically the ones associated with your age and experience. Memorize those benefits, practice how to bring them up in an interview setting, talk with friends and family about them, become comfortable and confident with connecting your age with your value to an organization. If you are well prepared and truly believe that your age is a positive, you can definitely turn your age into a competitive advantage in your job search.
While there is some value in attending support groups for unemployed people, those groups are not likely to help connect you with people who can affect your career. In the following article, I’ll discuss the value of joining professional associations and provide tips on how to make these groups work for you.
While most people don’t consider this, the structure of social networking websites was built to mirror the way people network in person, particularly as it relates to groups. Whether your goal is to develop a network of peers that can help you in your job search or career development, or to become better at networking online, joining a professional association is a great first step.
One of the main benefits of a professional association is that nearly everyone involved is gainfully employed and active in their field. This means that nearly everyone you meet could potentially provide you with an inside tip about a job opportunity. Associations exist to connect people with similar interests, and to provide educational support to the members and political support to the specific field of interest. It’s important to understand the motivation behind why people join these groups. To be blunt, no one in any association has joined in hopes of helping you find a job. Generally, members join for one of three reasons: So they can put it on their resume; so they can stay up to date with changes in their field of expertise; or to make acquaintances with other professionals who they could someday do business or work with.
You can find all types of professional organizations by searching online, but you’ll want to first look for professional or trade associations that are specific to the field of work you’re interested in. This may be difficult if you live in a remote area, and if that’s the case, you may want to search instead for local groups such as the Rotary Club to join in person, and consider looking for more specific associations online.
Once you identify the association you think would be a good fit, attend a meeting before you decide to join, just to be sure it’s what you want. Upon joining, you’ll be contacted by a welcoming committee member who will introduce you to the services, events, and information managed by the association. This person is a great contact point, and one that you’ll want to stay in touch with even after you’ve become a regular member.
Here are some keys to making your Professional Association work for you.
Nearly all associations rely on volunteers to help with their events, communications, and logistics. At the time that you join, seek out an opportunity to volunteer, and if you’re using this forum as a way to connect, make sure your volunteer position gives you the most exposure possible to other members.
During your first visit, make sure to tell an association or group staff member that you’re new and considering joining, then ask for them to introduce you to some people who could be good connections. This is what the staff is for, and they truly appreciate the opportunity to introduce new members to influencers in the group. Ask for cards whenever appropriate, and send out a “nice to meet you” card or email soon after the event.
FIND THE INFLUENCERS
If you want to grow your network quickly, you’ll want to get to know the influencers within the group. It’s always a good idea to start with the staff member who provided you with information when you first joined. Often called the welcoming committee chair, this person has the opportunity to meet and speak with every new member that comes in, so is very well connected within the group. Feel free to ask who the influential people in the group are, and ask for an introduction.
Once you begin to establish a group of associates within the association, you’ll want to let folks know that you’re looking for work, but discretion is the key. Never mention your job search in a group, but rather take the opportunity when you’re one on one to mention that you’re currently in transition, and ask for any recommendations or leads on new opportunities. Before you people see you as unemployed, you want them to see you as a peer, so make sure that you don’t lead your conversations with your job status. If it comes up, casually mention where you used to work, and that you’re currently taking time off, and leave it at that.
BE FUTURE ORIENTED
Don’t join an association expecting to get job tips at every meeting. Ultimately, the purpose of joining a professional association as part of your job search is to establish a network of like-minded peers. Once you’ve established yourself among a group of this type, you’ll want to quietly let people know that you’re looking for work, and before you know it, someone will be tapping you on the shoulder to let you know about a new job that will be opening up soon.
Somehow it seems that job scams and social media are all too often turning up in the same articles, if not sentences. While job scams exist and can be devastating to your personal identity and finances, the reality is that they are few and far between. There is much more fear about scams than there are scams. And although that is certainly true, we all know that it only takes one bad experience with a scam to ruin put you on the defensive about all opportunities.
While we all know it’s important to research a company online if we suspect a scam, it’s also important to utilize your other resources- such as the yellow pages, your freinds and family, and your network here professional sites like LinkedIn. Rather than assume any good offer is a scam, make sure you take the time to explore the opportunity- when you’re in the job hunt, you simply cannot afford to ignore any possible job opportunities. And in truth, as long as you don’t send any personal identification information (PII)- date of birth, ssn, address, finance related data- there’s really no way for a scam to hurt you.
More and more companies are using social media as a way to recruit and build talent pipelines. If you’re not familiar with the talent pipeline concept, this is when a company captures contact info (not PII) of people who could someday be a great hire. When done well, these companies will send updates on new job openings, and information on things like benefits, corporate culture, employee relationst, etc. In this climate, it’s important to make sure you’re in the pipeline, as this is where internal recruiters will look first for candidates, as it’s a free resource, unlike job boards or headhunters.
Be safe and cautious, but don’t let your fear of potential scams keep you from putting yourself in position to be hired. If you’re not sure, reach out to your resources and find out if there are any red flags about the organization or opportunity. Social media for recruiting, or Social Recruiting, as they are calling it now, is the fastest growing recruitment activity, and more and more the way to be considered is to join a companies talent pipeline (or talent community), and all it usually takes is your name and email address. If you’re worried about giving out an email address- you may want to setup a free email on a site like google, yahoo, or hotmail, and using that solely for your job hunting activities.
The job fair season is once again upon us. For several years, I managed an outreach and education program for JobsInTheUS. As part of my responsibilities, I managed our event program, during which time we attended over 200 career events per year, and hosted several job fairs as well. During this time, I had the opportunity to speak with thousands of job seekers and hundreds (maybe thousands) of job fair exhibitors. I recently posted a ‘best practice’ outline for employers with keys to attracting the best candidates during a job fair. But preparation and positioning isn’t just for the employers. Here are some pivotal tips to help make sure you make a great impression. If you’re serious about landing that perfect job, the following advice will help get you noticed.
Before attending the event, visit the website of the employers you want to work for, and check out both the careers pages and the News/Press Releases section. Employers want to hire candidates who are truly interested in their business, so study up on what’s going on inside the organization and be prepared to talk intelligently about it.
Be patient and wait your turn so that you can have a direct conversation with the recruiter… no matter how long the line at their booth is. You’ve read all about the power of networking to find a great job, and it all begins with eye contact and a positive interpersonal interaction. Be confident, polite, respectful, interested, and appreciative. Make sure to get the recruiters FULL name, and an email address if possible; and make sure to provide your own full name so that they hear it.
Be specific about what you’re looking for- avoid saying things like, “I’m looking for an opportunity with you” or “I’m open to anything” or “I’m really just looking to get my foot in the door”. Recruiters are looking for people with specific skills and aptitudes to fill specific positions. Research what jobs are available that fit your experience and education, and let the recruiters know why you’re a great candidate for that position, and what additional skills and abilities you can bring to the job or organization
Those are some tips to help get you started, here’s more from Neil Boorjian, event coordinator for JobsInTheUS, a recruitment media company that has exhibited at hundreds of career events over the past few years:
“There has been a significant increase in the number of job seekers attending career fairs. And we’ve seen a dramatic drop in the number of vendors attending shows. This likely will spell greater competition for job seekers, all the more reason to stay even more on top of your game at the next job fair you attend. Due to our economic climate, I expect to see the numbers continue to fluctuate here and there for the next couple of months, maybe even longer. If the economy gets on its feet and a lot of green jobs start popping up, there could be a swing in favor of the number of vendors attending shows, and thus offering more jobs to apply to…Remember, job seekers should always dress to impress. If you want an employer to take you seriously, you need to look neat and orderly.
Many people looking for work head online, but there’s a growing trend that some of the listings aren’t legitimate.
“I actually got a call this morning from a friend. She had applied for a job and had followed up with a phone call and was told that she had to put up $100 up front to be considered for the job. Clearly that’s not a legitimate job opportunity,” said Jason Blais, director of business development for jobsinct.com.
Blais says that many online jobs databases have seen a rise in sham jobs.
“They realize that people are desperate to find work and so they are putting out their bait to try to attract them,” Blais said.
You should never be asked to give out personal information while you’re in the application process, according to Blais.
“People are also reporting being asked for Social Security Numbers and other private information that jobs seekers should never give out before they are offered a job.”
He also recommends jobs seekers do their homework. Just because a company has a website, doesn’t mean it’s real.
‘It’s critical to make sure you are researching the company,” Blais said. “On our job board we make sure that every company has a company profile, that there’s contact information.”
Blais recommends looking for an in-state address and telephone number and contacting the Department of Labor for more information, before you apply.
“It sounds simple, but if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is,” Blais said
Find this article at: http://www.nbcconnecticut.com/news/local/Job-Seekers-Scammed.html