The unspoken personality test: There are things that make you the job seeker stand out; for the good or the bad! Attitude and temperament; some things only you can change. Nobody wants to hear stories of the old days or how it should be done.

Nobody likes a person who is negative or argumentative continually. Contrariness is not a Godly trait. It wins no souls. You need a grateful heart and spirit if you are lucky enough to get a job no matter what it is.

Personality or lack of it will drive (or end) an interview

Many times in my life I was in a job that seemed beneath my ability but it was the only job I could find. I had to have an attitude adjustment of my heart many times to keep smiling and waiting for a new door to open. There is an old Bible story about a boy named Joseph who is sold into captivity by his brothers out of jealousy. He is sold into slavery and is in bondage but during his entire time he continued to be focused on doing his best, giving his best, always striving to do what he knew to be his best work. It was not a ploy but an attitude to always do the right thing. This is what we as older workers must continue to do. We set the pace for the others around us. Why? Very simple, it is what makes us worthwhile. It is our testimony. It is how you will be known and how you will be valued. Joseph was elevated because of his testimony. Learn from him.

Using your skills in communication:

A good communicator knows when to talk and when to stop and listen..The old rail road cross signs used to read, stop, look, listen. It remains the best advice I can give when it comes to networking.

Stop, pause for an opportunity. Never bore someone or rain on their parade with your woes of looking and how you are down and depressed about your circumstances. If you complain too much they will be like “Oh well, what about those Mets”.. it is imperative to be up but honest about where you are. Ask if they might know of a job or someone who is looking for what you do.. Your friends know you and what you do for the most part, but a stranger that is in your path can be recruited to open a door with an acquaintance that they have that they are willing to offer to you or to be a conduit to another.. That is what networking is all about!

Look, and seek every opportunity as a place or point to begin your search.. at the bank, the grocery store, congregation, seek places-watering holes if you will. Places where people congregate, coffee houses, sporting events, wherever people congregate, that is where you need to be.

[Don’t be so aggressive that you are like the beggar that everyone avoids, you know, when you stop at an overpass near the main highway and there is someone looking very down and pitiful and they are holding a sign “will work for food” and they are wearing XXL sized clothing.. either they are working a lot or they are getting a lot of donations, runs through your mind, and you roll up your windows and pray for the light to change.]

Likewise, if you are down and need to find solace and peace, helping others who are truly down is a great catharsis and you are serving others while meeting and serving local agencies who offer you a place to showcase your skills and abilities by volunteering. Also consider joining professional organizations, online networking sites like Linkedin.com, touching base with former colleagues and employees at companies where you have worked or where you may like to work. Join a board over some group or organization that you are interested in. Look at local restaurants that host breakfast meetings with local organizations.

Listen, and make good use of your time. Timing is everything… An old 60’s song said, “good timing is the thing, ticka ticka ticka” and so on.. Listen for opportunities and make yourself aware that they are all around you but you must be alert. That light at the end of the tunnel may be the way out or it may be an oncoming train! Listen and discern and know when to know an opportunity when you hear one.

Pat Buttram used to be one of my favorite comedians and in Green Acres he played Mr. Haney, the classic pitchman. . He never missed an opportunity when it came to Mr.Oliver Douglas. “Mr Douglas, you are in luck today…” was the way he prefaced his pitch.

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If you listen well, look for each opportunity, and stop long enough to catch the ear of someone you are with then you will become the ‘perfect pitchman’.

Job experience carries weight and value and respect; Project your value and the aspect of mutual respect by showing your desire to use it for their company’s success. It comes down to how it is presented.

There are several aspects of the job search that must be adhered to when you are over or near 55.

  • Importantly do not focus on your age. Don’t bring it up. Don’t mention it.
  • Groom yourself well, look the part and take the time to present yourself in the best light that you can present yourself.
  • If you don’t have good clothing, borrow some.
  • If you don’t have clean clothing, do what it takes to get yourself clean and presentable, even if it is a low paying job show pride in yourself.
  • always have clean shoes.
  • Make sure your personal care is attended to.
  • Be rested and on time.
  • Use good body language and good posture
  • Smile, look the person in the eyes, and offer a handshake when you are applying for a job or going to an interview. Always maintain eye contact throughout as you can.
  • Learn to articulate well, speaking clearly and firmly.
  • Get names of who gets the application.
  • Ask for specifics without being a nuisance to the person giving you the application.
  • Be sure to use your best handwriting skills when you do an application long handed.
  • Be sure to have a resume with you.
  • If you are filling out an application on site, bring a pen, have details about your work history, contact information and references.

Remember, the most important thing about your image is that many times it is built by non-verbal actions and behavior. Your manner will make or break your case as to what you are bringing in ‘your basket’.

It comes down to this. Older workers, more mature workers, more seasoned workers may have a few hurdles to clear but the best find a way around those hurdles and move on showing that character is the ‘ace’ you hold in your hand. For the most part age will always bring character..

Time for your detective skills to kick in! Remember that the key to getting a job is derived from an old adage.. “It ain’t what you know…. It’s who you know”..

Most of the time you will get a ‘foot in the door’ by the efforts or influence of someone you know who knows someone where you want to be.

The hard part is to find that someone. Who can it be? How do you find that person? The short answer is called “NETWORKING”.

Networking begins with the schmooze… ‘talking and listening’. If you remember in the early part of this message I mentioned being a good listener. I will add, be a good communicator. This effort is moved forward down the field by interacting at every chance you can, like a politician who is out there kissing babies, you’ve got to keep looking for one to kiss at every stop.

Communication skills are the key: They still dig holes with a shovel! Some things need to be re-discovered.

Letter writing is becoming a lost art. Yet, it is a skill that I still enjoy using to my advantage or to communicate how much I care about what I am doing.

Reaching out to possible employers by mail to a specific person or to an HR department a recruiter is the best foot forward. Always return letters or emails, even turn downs, with a thank you for your time.

If you are soliciting a job, say a cold call and sending you are sending a cover letter with your resume then, be sure that your letter needs to address your skills that apply for their company and why you would be a good fit. You are using your ‘pitchman skills’.

Be sure to follow up with a perspective employer. If you sent an email with your resume and a cover letter, send a follow up email or letter to that individual. Thank them for their time and let them know that you are anxious to hear back from them. For the record, “they get it” for the most part and like the interaction.

Filed under: Mature Job Seekers

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