I have been invited to be a guest on a podcast dealing that supports an audience of baby boomers and they asked me a few questions, in advance since I’m going to be speaking about job hunting. Since it's dealing with Boomers, they asked some questions targeted to Boomers and I thought some of this would be very helpful for my audience.
So, the first question’s how is working with Boomers different?
The biggest challenge of working with Boomers is how easily they cop to the excuse of ageism in job hunting. “How do I find a job now that I am 60 or 65? I'm going to be interviewed by someone so much younger than me. Boo-Hoo! Boo-hoo! They are going to see me like there mother or father and they are going to reject me.”
My experience is, most the time, Boomers are so confident in themselves and their abilities that they spend no time preparing for interviews. They can’t backup their stories and they are blown away by an interviewer who sees as a fraud, representing knowledge and experience that they can't defend. So, I want to encourage you, first of all, take the time to be prepared for interviews. Don’t go out there and wing it.
So, the top three tips for Baby Boomers is to (number one) preserve and enhance your network of contacts. I have the belief that the next recession isn't that far away. Certainly, we are closer to it than we are to the last recession. After all, the last one was 2007-2009. It was a huge debacle and now were years later. Do you think we’re six years away from a recession? I don’t. So, if you're in a management role, you are likely to be targeted because, frankly, that's who gets targeted in most of these recessions. You are expensive, the cost of benefits, you are older, it's cheaper to keep people around and if there are five manager supporting 35 people, they may decide that three managers is just enough and to make those three work harder. So, you have to be prepared for what could be a layoff.
So, you network. You get a leg up on your competition for when you are job hunting, and you start proactively activating your network with a bunch of, “hi! How are you,” phone calls. You start acting proactively to enhance your network. Get involved with trade groups, organizations and places where you can develop relationships with people.
Second thing you do is update your resume NOW. Even though you're not looking, it just makes sense to have it ready in case you needed it, rather than in the midst of the crisis you are suddenly trying to think of writing a resume. It’s hard to do it under those circumstances,
You are feeling a lot of pressure. Everyone's asking you questions. You feel like it just doesn't make sense to you. You update it now. You update it every three months.
Last thing is you start conserving capital now so that, in this way, if you are laid off and not ready to retire, you have greater financial flexibility and staying power in your job search. The last recession hurt a lot of people because they were out of work for a long periods of time. You can also, by the way, start a business on the side, using your expertise or using one of the talents in order to create revenue opportunities for yourself. That’s also going to give you staying power.
So, this is my favorite question. What's the biggest challenges or concerns you see Boomers experiencing regarding job search. Boomers, like their older brethren, don't listen, don’t prepare and you become shocked when they been fire you.
“How can they do this to me? I have been so loyal!” Like Michael Corleone says in the Godfather, “it’s business. It's not personal.” So, you have to do things to look after your own interests and do a great job but you also have to act like the CEO of your own business with your family as your board members.
After all, job hunting doesn't have to be hard, difficult or painful, let alone take as long as it usually does. The skills that are needed to find a job are different than the skills needed to do it and they just involve practice in preparation. Whether it's networking, you can get better at networking. Interviewing just requires practice. Resume writing or the willingness to outsource your resume to someone who can write it well … You put things in place now when you're not stressed that will help you in case, suddenly, you are laid off.
So the last question is, “what would you tell a Boomer to do now, today to get started making changes?”
The economy operates in cycles. Although it may feel good now, the fact is another recession's on the way. Being prepared now is smart business. Don't wait until the knock on the door and someone opens it and says, “Can we see in the conference room for a few minutes.”
That's obviously too late to be prepared because you are about to be handed the notification that says you have been let go, what you’re final date is, what the buyout package terms are… all that stuff. You will freak because that's what most people do and understandably. All I’ll say is you have some time now. Get ready now.
As Jim Rohn says so well , either you run the day or the day runs you.