According to Amanda Augustine, job search expert with TheLadders, Hurricane Sandy and the rebuilding effort that will follow may have just given out-of-work midlifers a shot in the arm.
"If your house is a wreck and you're running back and forth putting gas in the generator for your ailing parent, obviously you have to table your job search until the dust settles," Augustine said. But return to it as quickly as you can: Midlifers are being given a "unique opportunity," she said. Here's why:
1) When post 50s lost their jobs in the recession, many turned to freelance and contract work. They are now set up to accept temporary employment and there will be a lot of it going around, Augustine predicted. Construction, landscaping, professional services such as insurance and appraisals will see growth, she said. Temporary employment can lead to full-time work.
2) With power out, the Internet barrier is temporarily down. "There are younger people who, if they can't get on LinkedIn and Facebook, don't know what to do with themselves," Augustine said. "Midlifers should capitalize on the fact that they know how to sell themselves off-line and do it. Boomers are more comfortable presenting themselves in person. This is a generation that knows how to get dressed up and put their brand out there." Much of her client base is middle-aged, she said, and, "they always tell me, 'just get me out in front of somebody and I know I can prove my value.'"
Her advice to midlifers: Use this time of sketchy Internet service to just show up at businesses and personally deliver your resume and cover letter. It won't be seen as weird, but rather entrepreneurial.
3) Offer your services as a volunteer for places in need of help. There is no better networking opportunity than volunteering to help in the community where you want to work, she said. If you can, find volunteering opportunities that tap your skill set. "Take your financial skills and offer to help some businesses with aid applications," she suggested. Even helping to clean up the neighborhood is as valid a networking opportunity as the kind where you pay money to attend and wear name badges, she said.
Don't wait to be asked, just go for it, she said. Start calling up places and asking what you can do for them for free -- now. They will remember it when normalcy returns.
4) And a job-hunting tip for everyone: If you are searching for a place with cell reception, head for a local hospital. Their grids are the last to go down and the first to come back up. Meanwhile, there are already postings for Hurricane Sandy cleanup jobs.