If you're a job-seeker over age 50, no doubt you grew up following the adventures of Clark Kent and his famous alter ego. Every kid who watched TV in the '50s and '60s recognized the foibles of this mild-mannered reporter: pleasant enough to be around, but a bit self-effacing and slightly inept. It wasn't until Clark hit the phone booth and transformed into his commanding doppelganger that his true powers became evident. In fact, once he donned his cape and muscle-enhanced leotard, not even a speeding bullet could stop him.
So what could this intrepid reporter possibly have to do with finding work in today's job market? Plenty! Here are three Super Keys you can adopt that will help you to leap your own tall buildings in a single-bound and propel you towards landing that job you'll love in record time.
Super Key #1: Cloak yourself in powerful attributes. Okay -- you may not be able to "change the course of mighty rivers," or "bend steel with your bare hands," but by the age of 50, you've amassed a number of well-honed skills and a wealth of experience. Now is the time for your inner Superman to add some muscle to your search.
Use the job listings as your primary research tool: determine which skills are in the greatest demand for your line of work, the current terminology employers are using for these skills and the latest buzzwords for your industry. Identify those skills you've mastered over your own career and flesh them out with examples of you performing your work at its best. Then make certain to highlight these powerful accomplishments on your resume, while networking and when you're in a job interview.
Super Key #2: Watch for the kryptonite! We all have weaknesses and, yes, you'll likely be asked to name them during an interview. Prepare to cite a weakness that's true for you but isn't integral to your overall job performance. Let employers know you're aware of your weakness, have gained valuable insights from acknowledging this limitation and the ways you've learned to compensate for your shortcomings.
Interviewers are not out to make you appear inept or foolish by asking you about your weak spots; they're looking for awareness, personal growth and the right attitude. By showing them the lessons you've learned, you can turn that kryptonite into gold!
Super Key #3: Believe you are unstoppable! Although it's highly unlikely you'll be able to locate a nearby phone booth these days, you can create the feeling of transforming yourself into a super-hero. Use methods such as self-talk and visualization to psych yourself up to focus on your assets. Then, with your desired outcome clearly in mind, anticipate success.
Practice describing your strengths with confidence and substantiating your claims with winning examples. Highlight the challenges you've faced, the skills you've used to successfully address and overcome these situations, and the positive results you've achieved. (Don't forget to underscore your outcomes with numbers whenever possible -- e.g., "achieved a 20% reduction in time to market.") Especially stress those situations when you saved money, streamlined processes, brought in new accounts and contributed to the bottom line.
Above all, remember that even the most mild-mannered of job-seekers can transform into a super-hero with the right preparation. Focus your skills to the demands of the market place, back them up with powerful examples, add a bit of muscle to the way you present yourself and anticipate success. You, too, could find yourself flying high and landing right in the job you've been looking to find -- and that's a pretty super feeling for sure!
Mary Eileen Williams is a Nationally Board Certified Career Counselor with a Master's Degree in Career Development and twenty years' experience assisting midlife jobseekers to achieve satisfying careers. Her book, Land the Job You Love: 10 Surefire Strategies for Jobseekers Over 50, is a step-by-step guide that helps you turn your age into an advantage. Recently updated, it's packed with even more information aimed at providing mature applicants with the tools to successfully navigate the modern job market and gain the edge over the competition. Visit her website at Feisty Side of Fifty.com and celebrate your sassy side!
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