While watching the series premiere of “The Pitch” on Monday, April 30th, I was excited to see Baby Boomers working their butts off in a fast-paced, performance-driven culture to beat out the competition. The premise of the show is two ad agency teams compete against one another for a new business account. I initially thought the show was going to be another reality show, consisting of the young, skinny, not so talented beautiful people. I was dead wrong.
If you follow the news, it sounds like the odds of fifty year olds hitting the lottery are greater than landing a job. They’re not thought of in the context of passion, drive, and working all nighters; employers should watch this show http://www.amctv.com/shows/the-pitch. After watching the first episode, how could any employer not want the experience, wisdom, talent, tenacity, commitment, competitiveness and dedication that Boomers bring to the table?
Baby Boomers handle failure and rejection well because unlike the young, they’ve lived through lots of challenges and know it’s not a death sentence, but part of the building blocks of success. They have increased tolerance for ambiguity and paradox and are better listeners and reflective, strategic thinkers. Another reason to hire Boomers is they’re good with their hands. Matt Sher, President of Day and Night/All Service located in New Hyde Park, New York, stated on CNN that he cannot find young trade talent; those trained in HVAC, plumbing and commercial refrigeration. They have job openings and cannot find qualified workers http://money.cnn.com/galleries/2012/smallbusiness/1204/gallery.employees/?iid=SF_SB_LN.
Baby Boomers, one of the most productive generations in US history, were born between 1946 and 1964 and are the single largest economic group in the United States, consisting of 78 million people.
Are you a laid off Boomer? Have you been downsized, outsourced or laid off? Whatever the euphemism, the bottom line is the same–no money coming in and bills piling up. You have to perform like those two ad agencies; you have to work your butt off, indulge in a few all nighters and pitch your story to an employer. You have to go up against your competition and be creative and inventive to sell your value proposition. Listen, I know you may be afraid but everyone has to learn the art of selling, from top executives to college grads.
I worked for a construction management company, and as part of their presentation team, presented to agencies all across the United States. For me, there is nothing I enjoy more than pretending I’m Oprah, strutting around a room like a proud peacock and engaging an audience. Some people however would shake in their boots when told they had to present but you know what, practice and preparation doesn’t make perfect but it damn sure makes better www.toastmasters.org. Here is how you look for a job and sell the most important asset you have, yourself.
1. Expand your search by demographics and industry. Don’t let fear paralyze you from exploring all your options. According to AARP, older workers are moving to North Dakota in droves for high paying jobs http://www.aarp.org/work/job-hunting/info-02-2012/north-dakota-boom-town.html. “New access to the vast Bakken formation — a thin band of oil-rich shale nearly two miles beneath the Williston Basin that spreads from North Dakota and Montana up to Saskatchewan and could contain up to 24 billion barrels of oil — has brought frantic growth to the region.” Please continue your job search on Job Service North Dakota at www.findjobsnd.com.
The one problem women are having is there are just too many available men in town. All of us single ladies in Atlanta, Washington, DC and New York we now know where to go. Single, working, available men, my next vacation will be to North Dakota.
2. Understand what an interview is: An interview is an exchange of ideas and information. It is not a test or someplace you go to speak poorly of previous employers, gossip about current events or tell your life story. Every interview is about what you offer, want and expect from the employer versus what the employer is looking for, needs, offers and will provide. If there is a meeting of the minds and you both have what the other wants, you will probably work together.
3. Don’t go in blind. I know you’ve heard it before, but we all know people who show up to interviews knowing nothing about the company. www.glassdoor.com allows you to search job openings, see company salaries and read reviews. A person I interviewed years ago thought the company made diesel engines. We were construction managers, nuff said.
Based on your newfound knowledge, what can you offer the company? Will you be able to save them money? Will you be able to improve its image? Will you be able to increase sales? Describe how you can achieve definable goals with concrete examples. A successful interview is when your skills and talent align with what the company needs and meets the demands of the position, so stay on message.
I’m sure you’ve heard the expression, “The more you know, the further you’ll go.” Before you begin the interview process, perform self-analysis and be honest. Know thyself. Know exactly what your skills are and how they can be applied to the position you’re going after.
4. Arrive early. Try to get to the interview fifteen minutes early so you have time to relax and collect your thoughts and go to the restroom to check your appearance. When the interviewer calls you in, you don’t want to be flustered and frazzled. You want to walk in calm and confident, with your shoulders back and your head held high. I know you Boomers practice Yoga so you have great posture; great posture makes you look more confident, slouching makes you look less competent.
5. Dress to impress but not like you are going to a cocktail party or a jazz club, just well-groomed and professional from head to toe. Make sure your hair and nails are trimmed and clean. A suit is always appropriate. Don’t use any strong cologne or perfume and don’t wear large earrings, necklaces and bracelets that can be distracting and noisy during the interview process. Do not chew gum or smoke any legal or illegal substances before the interview, smoke clings to fabric. Come on now, I’ve watched the documentary on drugs on the Discovery Channel and there’s a whole lot of drugging going on to the tune of $30 billion annually.
6. Conduct mock interviews until you become comfortable selling yourself to others with passion. Become comfortable talking about what you do and how well you do it with clarity and specificity. Everyone knows someone who is brilliant but doesn’t know how to express it. The interviewer has reviewed your resume and will definitely ask you specific questions. Be able to discuss how your previous work assignments and responsibilities prepared you for this position.
7. Ask a few good questions and then thank the interviewer for their time; also send each interviewer a thank you note which briefly recaps your interest and value proposition. Sign the note respectfully. You will be surprised at how many people never follow-up so please don’t drop the ball here. After a week or so, pick up the telephone and talk to the interviewer; nothing beats a one-on-one conversation. Remember the squeaky wheel gets the oil but don’t squeak too loudly or often or you might just get replaced. Don’t become annoying or sound desperate. After the initial follow-up, call the interviewer once a week. Keep a log of whom you called when.
Be Prepared has been the Boy’s Scouts’ motto for more than 100 years, and it has never failed them. Your preparedness will never fail you. We are all in this together so please share your interview tips or challenges below. Follow me DGSBlogger on Twitter https://twitter.com/#!/DGSBlogger