Are You Over 40 and Unemployed?

Did you know that many older workers are now part of a large group of long-term unemployed? (over 50 weeks)

Are you one of the discouraged or under employed workers who has given up looking for a job?

Between those who are older and those who have given up looking, there are approximately 25 million people. This tells me there is a serious mismatch of current skills to current job openings.

Many of the jobs available require older workers to start at salaries of 25-50% less than they previously earned with few or no benefits. Many positions are created on a temporary or as an independent contractor basis, which allows the business to “try before they buy.”

This temporary employment offers some respite from the anxiety of job hunting, but does not solve the unemployment crisis.  Did you know that at least 5 people are competing for each newly created job? The number may be higher for temporary work!

So what should you do if you are over 40 and unemployed? Develop a resume that will get you noticed by hiring managers. Don’t include everything you have ever done in your life.  Do use descriptive commentary and include accomplishments. Be sure to use a format that is appropriate for your work history. Chronological is the format preferred by hiring managers, but it is not always the best to showcase experience. Create a skills-based resume. Focus on your skills and knowledge relevant to the job at hand.

According to one expert, Marva Goldsmith, you should develop your personal brand packaging.

What does your packaging look like?

Some think of image as something shallow or relating only to surface features, but as with commercial brands, personal branding includes the proper selection and construction of your personal brand packaging.

First impressions matter. You must take control of your appearance.  People form opinions of you – right or wrong – within moments of meeting you.  That means you can’t afford to leave someone’s impression of you up to chance.

Studies show that in the first 30 seconds of meeting you, people base their impression of you on this”

55%      What they see

38%      How you speak

7%       What you say

We all know snap judgments can be wrong and unfair.  Still, you can’t ignore the reality: people form opinions based on the most minor details.  More than half of what goes into forming someone’s first impression of you happens before you open your mouth.  That’s right: 55% of someone’s initial response to you is based on visual cues.

You can’t help getting older, but you don’t have to get old.” —George Burns, Comedian

Clothing. People do judge books by their covers every day.  Make sure that your cover conveys the message you want people to remember.  Here’s a sample of messages that your clothing might be saying about you (whether you like it or not):

First and foremost, if you purchased your interview suit in the 1900s…think about an upgrade.  You must look current. Your clothing, your eye wear and your hair must tell the story you are current.  That does not mean to dress like a youngster, only that you must appear up-to-date, interesting, fresh, competent, etc.  Invest in an all-weather wool suit in navy blue or charcoal gray.  For creative industries, you have more latitude with color.

Make a statement about your personality with your scarf or jewelry selection.  Women can use jewelry to bring color and interest into the interview uniform.  Earrings should not dangle and the jewelry should not make noise, as it can be distracting.

If your hair is silver, wear accents of blue or a French blue shirt to add vitality to your face.  Depending on your personal coloring, a white shirt can drain the color from your face, leaving  “ghastly” appearance. If you have stark silver in your hair and the rest of your hair is black or very deep brown – avoid brown tones: the color will make your hair look dull.

And what about a dye job? Only if you can get a professional to dye and maintain the look.  Avoid stark colors, i.e., jet black at 62 years old.  Use colors that look natural – including a little silver around the temples. Aim for a look that connotes vibrancy, vitality and health…and that does not necessarily require a dye job. If your teeth are stained, consider professional teeth cleaning or whitening.  If that’s too expensive, then opt for some of the over the counter toothpaste whiteners.

Putting your best foot forward with a well polished resume and a personal branding will set you apart from the competition and help you get noticed.

Need help?  Let me hear from you.

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