Virginia is my Executive Assistant and is a baby boomer. She has had some incredible life and business experiences and can deadlift 90 kilos. She’s got heart, passion, skill, intelligence and energy.
Virginia got the job as my EA because she cut-through everyone else in her approach. I interviewed 5 people out of the 60 who applied for the role and she stood out by a long shot.
In her resume, it was clear she had heavily invested in skills that employers were looking for. She marketed herself to the role and made my life easy when it came to recruiting her. In the job ad, I asked for people to call me personally regarding the role. She was only one of two people who took the initiative to call me when I advertised the role and one out of all the candidates who tailored everything and created provide high-quality work samples based on what I would need in the role. She had the most experience, could see exactly what I needed help with and followed the process to the letter.
Age is so often a reason that creates confusion for Baby Boomer Branding. The reality is that it’s not the issue – it’s how to market yourself and focusing on what you can do to help. Baby boomers have more skills than their younger competitors. Virginia was curious enough to go and learn those skills and she tells me she’s now in her dream job. She’s such an inspiration!
Do you know a baby boomer struggling to get work?
According to Forbes Magazine, around 40% of small businesses have said they’ll be looking for new staff. As a business owner, trying to find good talent is extremely hard. There are people out there like me that need your help.
So the issue is branding and marketing
Prior to 2012, my team and I would redesign a resume and as a result, the interviews they would acquire would quadruple. In fact, we almost created a guarantee for clients as it was that easily achievable. However, everything changed in 2012 with the change of government in Queensland and a massive oversupply of job seekers in the market. Job-seekers had to become more aggressive in their search and to cut through the noise. That has since created the new standard.
So, if you’re a Baby Boomer, you need to cut through the noise with the following:
- A tailored resume and cover letter
- Fully Search Engine Optimised and branded LinkedIn profile
- Job search strategy
- Killer interview skills
The even bigger reality is that times have changed. There are less permanent roles and far more solopreneur, contract and project-based roles than ever. This is the future. Post GFC organisations realised they need more flexibility to be agile and move with their clients demands a disruption. They’re scared of being stuck with the wrong people. By 2020, 50% of the workforce will self-employed.
This issue is not going away.
As the saying goes, ‘if you’re in the desert you can either pray for rain or start walking’.
So, the challenge is trying to encourage baby boomers to:
- Take on short-term roles. Those who are great get snapped up into full-time positions more easily. The secret is you have market yourself effectively to get them.
- Set up yourname.com and become solopreneurs. At worst it will hedge your bets, keep you focussed and busy by writing a blog about your area of expertise. At best it will find you your dream role by simply sharing your thoughts, insight and expertise.
- Reach out to the people you know or organisations who they would be a good fit for. When I got divorced, I was unemployed for three months and got my dream job as the Learning and Development Manager with Super Retail Group. I knew I was a good fit for them so I went and asked for a meeting with the recruitment manager. They didn’t have anything at the time but agreed I was a good fit. Two weeks later the person whose job I wanted resigned and yes I got the job! Don’t wait for jobs to be advertised. You don’t ask, you don’t get.
- Volunteer first to show what they can do. My Dad was in his mid 50’s when he wanted to make a change from working as an accountant in corporate to working in the funeral industry. He had a friend Bill, who owned a funeral business and often helped out but wanted it to be more of a full-time role. He offered to help him set up his accounting procedures and systems, unpaid at first, so he could see what he could do to help him. Needless to say, once Bill was able to see how valuable it was to have these systems in place Dad was appointed. Remember, some people really can’t quite grasp what you can do to help them, so donate a day or two so they can see how you could help.
- Learn how to market yourself effectively. See yourself as a business now and create a plan and execute like you are one. Have a vision, values, goals you want to achieve, what skills you are selling in exchange for money. See your potential employer as a customer and think of creative ways to reach out. Don’t just reach out and ask for a job. Reach out and show that you understand their world and that you’d love to help.
Dr David Bluestein, world-leading Psychologist and Career Development Expert from Boston College spoke at the Australian Career Development Conference in 2014 and said the biggest issue for Career Coaches is not helping people get jobs but to know how to set people up as solopreneurs. He said the future of work is marketing skills and personal branding. They are key to making this work. The future of branding is YOU.
Love to know your thoughts.
Links you might find useful
- Video on Job Search Strategy: I no longer do this work but this explains what is going on and what they need: https://youtu.be/A65iHzJwtxg
- An interview on Today Tonight with 63-year-old Ian and we created this case study: https://youtu.be/q9VRmiFZz_Q
Jane Anderson is a communications expert, speaker and the author of 5 books including “EXPERT to INFLUENCER: 12 Key Skills to Attract New Clients, Increase Sales and Leverage your Personal Brand to Become an Industry Leader.” With over 20 years experience helping people step into their personal power, she is obsessed about creating human connection to drive business growth in a world of disruption and automation. To inquire about her working with you or your organisation please contact us here.