Welcome to the Gen Plus Blog

It's a backstage pass to info on jobs and life at 50+. Gen Plus, headed by Janet Wendy Spiegel, is dedicated to baby boomers and the plus generation of age 50 and older. Read up and speak out on issues affecting your future: jobs, income, life and respect.

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Northridge, California, United States
Successful businesswoman, consultant, entrepreneur. I operate two businesses -- social media consulting, AND premium pet care services in the West San Fernando Valley. Love what I do, love life.

Gen Plus has relocated to www.GenPlusUSA.com

Thursday, August 21, 2008

How the heck can you break into the market? ANY market?

One of the most frustrating aspects of being a mid-age jobseeker is trying to break into a new market...or actually...ANY market once you find yourself with a lack of experience, too much experience, the wrong experience, or...exactly the right experience, but the wrong age, wrong salary, wrong appearance, wrong connections, wrong smile...

The challenge is not only in the US, but in most of the aging countries -- those are all the countries that experienced a surge in population after the 2nd World War. We tend to think of the US as the only country to have to deal with the challenges of aging baby boomers, but most of the British Commonwealth countries, China, India, Japan amongst others. Because I provide support on many different websites, including Eons and AllExpertsi tend to get questions from jobseekers, not only in the US, but in other countries. The issues they bring to me are so similar to the ones boomers face that it is worth noting.

One reader, an immigrant to Canada, was having a lot of trouble finding employment as a new arrival to the country. The challenges he was facing echoed exactly the same challenges our demographic faces. He didn't have the connections to get a foot in the door. His past experience from his native country didn't hold any weight for Canadian employers. He couldn't get a recruiter to get him past the first stage of any job opening. He was running out of money.

Ayay! Sound familiar? I thought so. And the solutions to him finding employment were the same as the ones aging boomers need to employ to get a foot in the employment door in the US, in China, and in Australia! We've explored so many strategies over the past few years, but there are a few that bear repeating:

1) Connections -- who do you know? Doesn't matter how well you know someone, but all contacts know a potential employer. It means, smiling. Talking. Communicating. Asking. Telling. There is nothing to be ashamed about regarding needing work. So talk and ask and leave no stone unturned in trying to find someone who knows someone who knows someone at the company you want to target.

2) Groups -- Communities support community members. Find every community organization you "fit" into and make contacts there. There are physical groups (like religious organizations, community centers, neighborhood watch) and online groups (Facebook, LinkedIn, Eons) and it is in your interest to grow your networks by taking advantage of any group dynamic.

3) Repurpose. That's the big word for the first decade of the new millenium. You repurpose, retool, reshape, redefine your skill sets and experience into the newly desirable skills sets. If you have a tired, old resume, take some time and look at today's job descriptions. Last decade's business "drivers" are now measurable "metrics", so find out the catch phrases and make sure you include them in your descriptions. If you can't measure it, a company will be less interested than in your quantifiable results.

4) Know your competition. Who is your main competition? Is is the Gen Xer? Gen Yer? Or another boomer with a stronger skill set than yours. Do you know what each demographic's strengths and weaknesses are? If not, better brush up. In the information age, you'd better know how to text, IM and find just about anything on the internet. You also need to know who is interviewing you. If your point of entry is a Gen Yer, your age will absolutely be a barrier to entry. Focus on smaller companies who will value your experience bottled into one person.

Don't give up. Keep your eyes open to all opportunities because you never know what will tickle you or when. Opportunities don't always GRAB your attention...they might just set your spidey senses a'tingling and if you aren't listening, you might miss it.


Walter Akana said...

Hi Wendy! Terrific post! You have done a wonderful job of hitting the keys to breaking into a market; done well, these strategies can also help you stand out!

Janet Wendy, founder, Gen Plus said...

Thanks Walter. You'd think it would be getting easier for Boomers and 50 Plussers to find work, but in fact, it remains really tough. I think breaking into a market is one of the toughest challenges of all.