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Planning Retirement Online

Job Searching in Later Life

In this guide Don Wilde gives  the benefit of his extensive experience in outplacement and career consultancy to help laterlife visitors plan, prepare and increase their chances of finding and gaining the right job in later life.

Read Don's Introduction below and then his initial sections on:

Planning your Campaign, covering the 'Logistics and Nature of the Job Search Activity' and 'An Analysis of Yourself'.
Routes to Market, covering the 5 different routes you should consider.
Winning CVs with guidance and examples on creating a winning CV
Methods of Selection with information on the current techniques used in selection

These and Don's other sections

Interview preparation and behaviour
Coping with redundancy

The self employment option

provide a comprehensive guide to job search and  finding and gaining the job that suits you.

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About Don Wilde

Don Wilde BSc, MCIPD

Don has many years experience in outplacement and career consultancy, latterly on a self-employed basis but prior to that within the IT industry, where he was employed for many years in a variety of human resources, business and project management, and staff development roles.

Don has managed large scale closure and redundancy exercises and the assistance programmes to train and help individuals in finding alternative roles.

Don is an experienced trainer and training developer, mentor and counsellor, and has created and managed new training operations.  His expertise also includes psychometric instruments and the design and implementation of assessment and development centres.

In addition to assisting many IT staff,  his clients have included staff from leading organisations in other industries such as merchant banking, manufacturing and distribution and HR consultancy.

Job Searching - Finding and Gaining a Job that suits you in later life

We all now recognise that “jobs for life” is a dream of yesteryear, and that we will find ourselves - whether voluntarily or involuntarily - looking for a job at some time or other. When this happens in our fifties or sixties it raises specific issues in addition to the many questions relating to general job search. For example:

“Do I have a chance of getting another job at 58?”

“I last had a job interview 27 years ago – what do I do and what has changed?”

“Are some methods of identifying vacancies more appropriate than others for the more mature job-seeker?”

“Do I attempt to hide my age or not?”

“How do I represent my 40 years of career achievement without producing a ten page CV when I want them to know everything that I have done?”

This 'Job search in later life' guide is primarily concerned with helping those looking for a new job to increase their chances of  finding and winning a position that will suit their needs.   The subjects covered are very similar to those in any job-search textbook – but written with the over-50’s in mind. In addition you will find further sections covering coping with redundancy, self employment etc.

The topic is divided into subject headers described below:

Planning Your Campaign    covering the areas of logistics and initial analysis. You must have order, discipline and systems in place because an extensive search will be both time-consuming and information-laden. You must also, right at the start, identify what the “product” that you are selling – ie you – offers to the potential buyer and also what you require from any potential job. This requires analysis of yourself in terms of experience, skills, knowledge, needs, values etc that is essential – bearing in mind that if you ARE job-hunting at 55 you probably want the job to be right for you (and vice versa) until you are 65, rather than one that turns out to be wrong after six months or so.

Routes to Market     we traditionally think of the key ways of identifying current vacancies as being  press adverts, agencies and the internet. But at our age there is every chance that our next role will actually be found by talking to those we have built up as a network over the preceding decades, including social and family contacts as well as work-based colleagues. And the further route of speculatively approaching organisations has one of the highest success rates of all. This section provides guidance on the five approaches, encouraging everyone to try them all, at least initially, and then concentrate on the ones that appear to be proving most rewarding.

Winning CV’s   -  the first of the two key marketing activities, the other being the interview. How do we ensure that the document is read at all? How do we ensure that we provide the information that will get us interviewed, but not so much that we turn them off? How important is length, layout, grammar? Emphasising that the purpose of a CV is not to get the job, but to get an interview, is an essential part of the positioning, and there is no doubt that time and care spent producing the CV can dramatically affect your chances.

Methods of Selection   -  when we were last selected for a new job, the decision was probably made on the basis of just an interview – and a fairly unstructured, hypothetical one at that. Selection methods have advanced a long way over the past 10-20 years, and we may now find ourselves faced with ability tests, psychometrics, assessment centres etc –  and any interview held will probably be more structured and objective than we are used to. Being prepared for the fact that these methods MAY be sprung on us, and having an understanding of how they function, goes a long way to reduce our apprehension and improve our performance.

Interview Preparation and Behaviour  -  having produced a CV that is successful in getting us in front of the hiring manager, there is a large amount of preparation that we can do in advance to increase the chances of success. This includes research into the job/organisation as well as planning our own responses to questions. The section then looks at how to optimise behaviour at the interview to keep the interviewers interest and present ourselves as well as possible, and how to avoid some of the small, “un-thought-of” obstacles that might upset our performance.

Notes on Image the way we look, speak, dress, behave has been with us for a long time – much of it is by choice and we have no intention of changing it. BUT we do need to just check out whether any aspects of this are likely to decrease our chances so that we can at least pose the question “do I modify this during the selection process to increase the chance of success?”. Remembering that over 60% of how a person forms an opinion is based upon how you look, this may be the time to swallow our principles for a brief while and, for example, wear quieter ties, longer skirts, different jewellery, shorter hair.

Coping with Redundancy  -   some of those using the job search guide will be looking for another job because they have been made redundant. This can arouse a wide variety of emotions, often negative, which may well get in the way of our ability to positively sell ourselves into a new job. This section is written to hopefully provide some assistance to those who are going through this difficult situation.

The Self-Employment Option  -  a significant number of those changing job, particularly in a redundancy situation, consider self employment as an option. This section is not intended to be comprehensive but provides some initial pointers and references to start people on the right road.

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