People are landing jobs. This holds true in spite of the tight job market, whether or not the candidate boasts each skill in the position description and despite the fact that the applicant is well over 50. Are these fortunate folks simply at the right place at the right time, do they know people on the inside or are they just plain lucky?
Although there's little doubt that luck plays a role in job search success, there are three main traits that set the winning candidate apart from his or her competition: focus, confidence and enthusiasm. To ensure your own positive outcome, you'll want to make certain you possess all three.
Focus: A successful job-seeker knows where his or her talents lie, what fulfills them and how they can best contribute. They've spent time identifying their core competencies and can list examples of how they've used these skills to make a difference. In addition, they've carefully crafted their elevator pitch/branding statement to highlight their abilities and accomplishments and maximize their initial impression. This way, they can successfully position themselves to optimize their networking contacts. In fact, these savvy job-seekers are the ones who secure the most leads and referrals!
If you're having difficulties identifying and articulating your key skills, check out the list provided by Managing Change. Then follow the steps at The Career Key to flesh out examples of accomplishments you wish to highlight. Be certain to use these examples while networking, on your resume and during your interview. Examples are your very best way of proving your worth and underscoring your viability as a candidate.
Confidence: Come from a position of strength. Older applicants need to focus on the positive aspects of age and turn their years into their advantage. Play up the fact that you have the experience and knowledge to handle most any situation that arises because you've encountered and dealt with similar circumstances many times before. Highlight the people skills you've honed over a lifetime of experience dealing with coworkers, clients and customers. Then be certain to back up your claims with examples of how you've supported your team during a crisis, soothed a disgruntled customer or landed the deal with a difficult client.
Enthusiasm: A winning candidate must show enthusiasm for the position, the company and what he or she will bring to the job. Although skills are important and will get you through the door to an interview, your attitude, personality and general fit with coworkers will determine your ultimate success.
In addition to the requirements for the position, the hiring manager is attempting to determine whether or not you'll be pleasant to work with, if you will represent the organization well and if you'll approach the job with a positive attitude. So let them know why you want to work there, the specific reasons why you admire the organization and ways that you as a unique individual (your added value) can use your talents to contribute and help them meet their goals.
Therefore, as you prepare for any job interview or networking encounter, be certain to exude both your enthusiasm and confidence with your verbal and your nonverbal messages. That, along with a strong sense of focus, should get you seeing results and maybe even land you the job... even in a tough job market.
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 shows you how you can turn your age into an advantage and brand yourself for success. Recently updated, it's packed with even more information aimed at providing mature applicants with the tools to gain the edge over the competition and successfully navigate the modern job market. Visit her website at Feisty Side of Fifty.com and celebrate your sassy side!