Let’s face it. The new job market is challenging, but especially so for older job seekers. What have your experiences been like?
According to a recent MetLife study called “Buddy, Can You Spare a Job?”, many Boomers now plan to continue working until at least age 69, but are having difficulty competing with other, often younger job seekers.
What I like about this very readable study is that it’s more than a dry set of statistics. It examines some beliefs that could be getting in your way, plus it offers practical job search strategies to improve your chances for landing a job in today’s new job market.
This is the first of a 5-part series. I’ll be taking a look at each of the 5 success strategies recommended in the study, starting today with the importance of acknowledging the new realities of the job market.
Acknowledging the New Job Market
The study suggests that instead of feeling angry about being treated differently than younger job seekers, you would do better to focus your energies on understanding the job market. Once you’re armed with that knowledge, you can then develop a strategy that would work best for you.
The study suggests three things you can do to gain a better understanding of the new job market:
Identify industries and organizations in your area that are either stable or growing. Take time to realistically assess the employment market in your area. The study mentions relatively strong sectors such as health care, accounting, energy, the food industry, and transportation.
Look for organizations with a workforce culture that respects all workers. You might want to look at AARP’s lists of the best employers for workers over 50. RetirementJobs.com both evaluates and lists age-friendly employers, which you can receive for a very reasonable membership fee. These employers welcome older workers and may offer more flexible working environments.
Consider looking for opportunities in small- to medium-sized companies or in self-employment. Most of the new jobs in this economy are being created in smaller firms. Your experience could be an advantage here, even though your pay may be lower. As you evaluate companies, make sure the environment would be a good fit for you. Self-employment is another option.
Other Things You Can Do
- Try working with the changes in the new job market rather than struggling against them. Flexibility and openness are qualities that will help you deal with those changes more effectively. Stay current in your knowledge and skills.
- Rethink what work means to you. What do you want from your work now? Do you really want to continue competing for promotions? Maybe you’ll find that constant striving is less important than it was earlier in your career.
- Accept that you must take the initiative and be proactive. Opportunities are out there, but they won’t come to you. You will need to do some research. But at least you’ll be prepared to create job search strategies that work for you, that fit your temperament and make the most of your strengths.
What do you think about these strategies for navigating the new job market? What would work best for you?