No doubt about it, this economy is the one of the worst for job hunters in many years. What used to take days and weeks is now taking months and years. Despite the good news in The Wall Street Journal on Monday April 19 about hiring of young engineers in Silicon Valley, by and large the outlook for old and young alike is abysmal.
Anecdotally and otherwise, I am constantly hearing stories of incredible age discrimination in today’s job market. It seems that employers want young and cheap. Folks above the age of 45 are increasingly reporting that they are washed up and no longer have the skills that companies are seeking. Young people sit frustrated due to lack of response from companies and headhunters due to their seeming lack of experience.
Well, it may be the current situation. But I do think that the tide will likely turn when employers realize that they are missing out on a surplus of great experience and talent that can significantly bolster their productivity and help them quickly accommodate the recovering economy.
So to those who have suffered through a lengthy period of job search, here are some suggestions of things to do while wading through the mire of unemployment or waiting for the economic storm clouds to part.
1. Take a break from the search. If you are looking everyday, you can become jaded and frustrated. A day or two wine tasting, golfing, bike riding or even sitting on a log at the beach is therapy from the daily grind.
2. Go pro bono! I know it’s not a paying gig. But doing what you enjoy for others can often lift the spirits and give you a sense of renewal that you are indeed talented and effective. If you are in the business of PR, marketing, creative processes, etc., there are folks who can use your skills. The Taproot Foundation http://www.taprootfoundation.org is one such organization that cherishes your writing skills, account and project management abilities, marketing savvy, IT wizardry and other talents. Also, look around in your own town, there are likely organizations waiting for your call.
3. Try a couple of acts of random generosity and expect nothing in return. If you have friends or colleagues that are in your same spot, offer to help them out. Buy them a mocha java and commiserate. Counsel them on their job search and things they may want to do to improve their marketability. Take a break from yourself.
4. Develop a brand statement. Conduct a brainstorm session with your friends to ferret out what is your personal brand promise. Do a focus group about you. Ask other people to identify what might be your brand essence. See if you can identify or label yourself in three words. Do a self exam and combine that with what your friends say. The result may surprise and enlighten you. If you like it, use it as your Linkedin description.
5. Present yourself in Multimedia. Take your statement of brand essence and let that be your inspiration for your own Microsoft Power Point presentation. Make it as long as you need or want. Get creative, add photos and video, include web links to your content, talk about your family if it helps describe your value in life.
6. Spread the gospel of YOU! Get yourself an account on www.slideshare.com. Take your Power Point presentation and convert it into an Adobe Acrobat file. Upload it to your Slide Share account and then incorporate it into your Linkedin profile. All of this content eventually will be included in search results of Google and Bing, making it easier for companies and search firms to find you and learn your value.
Bottom line is, get creative, think outside the box, think outside the bun, run it up the flagpole, drop back ten and punt, get out of your routine and take a fresh look at yourself, at others and other things!