The Desk

November 16, 2009

Not-So-Novel Job Search Strategies

Job search strategies come and job search strategies go. Job seekers move along the age continuum. As they approach and overcome 50 years (of age), they begin to believe the hyperbole that they’re no longer useful and should be focusing on retirement rather than competing with the Gen-whatevers for plum career options. In the alternative, they buy into the notion that the only good they have left is data entry or human online search engine opportunities.

Dearie me. How far from true are these myths. The only thing holding back a mature job seeker is the amount of creativity they use for determining where to look and how much of their experience and stored skills they choose to market.

Being young and eager is an advantage. One of the benefits of youth and inexperience (so we’re still told) is the eagerness to learn and conquer new concepts. It is also the bastion of bringing new concepts to the workplace that are innovations imparted by college and university training. There are few to no bad habits that need to be unlearned in order to do things in the company way.

However, the senior job seeker, that is, the one who is over 50 years (of age) has several advantages that are most desirable to many employers. One of those advantages is having gone through many years of trial and error learn that has accompanied the training in school. That experience also carries the knowledge gained through years in the workforce in various capacities. That knowledge translates laterally to any position that the senior worker presents theirself as qualified to do.

The catch to being seen as qualified for the new position is communicating and demonstrating in the cover letter, the resume, and during the interview what lateral experience is being brought to the table and how it’s applicable to the new situation. It’s important for the senior job seeker to emphasize the things they’ve done during their career to contain costs (with demonstrable, verifiable examples) as well as revenue generating activities that resulted in good profit margins. Coupling those strategies with a few subtle comments about where being a team player turned into a team win is helpful.

Another boost is showing talking about universal concepts that allow the learning curve to be short because the only thing to really learn is the company way of doing things. The result of a short learning curve is lowered cost of hire which in turn results in cost savings and increased profits. Now that we’ve covered that logic, the other thing the senior job seeker can do during the interview phase of marketing theirself is point out how well they understand the economics of hiring compared with turning a business profit.

Since we’re still in the New Millennium economic depression (and will be there for at least another year), there are a lot of issues driving what the job seeker wants in terms of salary and benefits. The distance that must be traveled in order to get to the workplace will color whether an offer is accepted, Hiring Manager. Make certain you confer with your Human Resources professional with regard to the salary range and what factors may sweeten the pot in order to capture the honey bee to your hive.

Sometimes it will be cold, hard dollars and cents that will make the difference. Sometimes it’s simply a matter of flex time. Or there may be some non-monetary perks that are important to your candidate that help you sidestep tax obligations while still compensating your employee (yes, you definitely can get them to accept your offer, if you present something that’s tantalizing) with benefits they will enjoy. You just have to think outside the dots.

The point is, those of you who are in the job market and over 50 (years of age) need not resign yourselves to entry-level positions that only offer minimum wage. You have a lot to offer. Even if your last career or position wasn’t in sales or marketing, you need to think of yourself as a particular product and sell your product based on the benefits that make it (you) the best choice compared with all of your competitor brands.

May all your Entrances be through the doors of Success!


  1. I wish I could be working with you and your colleagues on writing that book. And I hope what you found on this blog was more than useful. Let me know if there’s something you want discussed.


    Comment by Yvonne LaRose — January 14, 2010 @ 9:55 PM | Reply

  2. I am writing a career book with some colleagues and was doing research for one chapter and I found your blog. The universe is indeed small.


    Comment by Danita Redd — December 17, 2009 @ 11:19 PM | Reply

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