As a mature job-seeker contemplating the start of the new year, you're likely asking yourself how you can maximize your efforts to begin seeing real results in 2012. How can you eliminate some of the more frustrating roadblocks in today's difficult job market? How can you present your skills and experience more effectively? And how can you take best advantage of the hiring opportunities that abound in January and February? (For more information on opportunities available during this special time of year, see my post entitled "New Year, New You, New Job!")
Answers to these questions may well be found in evaluating the methods you've been using, eliminating those that waste your time and resources, and creating a list of powerful new techniques to move you forward. Just like the beginning of the New Year lends itself to reevaluating goals and creating a list of resolutions for your personal life, this is the time to take a look at how you've been conducting your job search. So plan to spend several minutes assessing your successes and failures. Then write up a set of action steps based on the behaviors that work best for you.
Here's a list of three resolutions for "Job Search 2012" to get you started:
1) Ignore the negative press. Recognize that the media loves to spin bad news. Even more, the statistics they cite are, by definition, generalities. These have nothing to do with you as an individual job-seeker: the ways you're conducting your job search, how many people are in your network and how you present yourself to others.
Your attitude about your viability as a candidate underscores everything you do. In order to be successful, you'll need to present yourself with confidence, energy and enthusiasm. So rather than feeling discouraged, take pride in the wealth of experience you bring, the challenges you've faced and overcome, and the well-honed skills you've accumulated over a lifetime. These are just a few of the true assets of age and experience.
2) Use the bulk of your time employing the most direct route to your next position. People get people jobs. Hiring statistics show that close to 75 percent of new positions are obtained through personal referral. This number grows even higher the older you are and the tighter the job market. Therefore you'll want to plan your time accordingly -- at a minimum you should be spending 75 percent of your time and efforts enlarging your network of contacts and making new connections in your field of interest.
3) Learn how to present yourself as a knowledgeable insider. Be sure to research trends in your industry and be able to speak to current developments locally, nationally and internationally. In addition to an enthusiastic, can-do attitude, you'll need to converse with the knowledge and confidence your research will provide. Preparation is key. Therefore, spending some time educating yourself will pay off, both as you network and as you're presenting yourself in job interviews.
Be certain to check back soon for more tips and resolutions for 2012. With the right attitude, preparation, and connections, you'll be positioning yourself for success. And, if you're currently pounding the pavement, you know there's no better way to start the New Year off than with a brand new job!
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 packed with tools to turn age into an advantage -- providing mature applicants with techniques to successfully navigate the modern job market as well as strategies that give them the edge over the competition. Visit her website at Feisty Side of Fifty.com and celebrate your sassy side!.