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6 things can hinder you from finding the right job

August 17, 2018

Finding the right job that matches your skills and interests is the goal of every senior candidate who wants to continue working. While competition can be strong in certain fields, no one can take away your experience and wisdom built from years of contributions.

Despite the lowest unemployment numbers in years, some seniors will have difficulty landing a good job and the reasons might not be age-related, but on choices that keep you stuck. It’s easy to fall back on age when interviews are far and few between, but when you keep doing the same things and get the same results, it’s time to refocus efforts.

There are factors out of your control such as the economy, who sees your resume and hidden bias that influences candidate selections. The good news is that you can control your techniques, mindset and approach. Here are six common areas that if left unchecked can make your job search more challenging than needed.

1. Failing to identify your skills and rebrand yourself. Now is the time to focus on your transferable skills, not just on changing career direction, but skills that can be transferred from one occupation to another without much effort on your part. Transferable skills usually do not require additional training or education, and as a senior candidate you have a wealth of skills to offer. Use your skills to rebrand your value to employers in your resume and online, and you’ll receive more attention with your updated approach.

2. Staying in your comfort zone. Most candidates lean toward their comfort zone and will turn down opportunities to avoid risks such as attending networking events or joining organizations to further their growth. Yet when you continue to stay comfortable you miss great opportunities to meet new people and learn. A comfort zone keeps you from reaching your dreams and keeps you stuck in a crowd doing the same things.

3. Not being prepared for interviews. Plan to be interviewed any time you are actively conducting a job search. All those relaxed coffee gatherings can seem causal, but beware that you could be on an informal interview. Know your skill sets and what types of positions interest you. Get laser focused on the type of impression and message you want to leave with everyone you meet.

4. Sending desperation signals. Desperation looks like a willingness to take anything offered and it sends vibes that you are panicked. When you feel desperate, it’s difficult to think about anything outside of finding relief. Your mind is on your problems rather than helping the potential employer solve theirs. One way to leave desperation behind is by tuning your attention on the conversation, asking questions that lead to rapport.

5. Misunderstanding networking. Baby-step your way into networking; don’t try to be someone else. Networking is exchanging information in a focused way. If you are introverted, give yourself a break and take off the pressure of expecting to instantly become comfortable. Talk to someone you know first to build momentum for the next one. Ask people you know to help introduce you, as it helps to break down the reluctance to meet new people.

6. Overlooking the power of self-talk. It’s easy for self-talk to turn negative when you feel discouraged and start doubting your employability. The words you use often reveal your confidence level and will create the outcomes you want to avoid. Here is a quick way to empower your job search. Write an introduction statement that helps you structure your selling points, such as experience, key skills and interests. Developing self-insight into what skills you have to offer will boost your confidence.

Kimberly Thompson is a board-certified counselor. Send questions to kim@careerrescue.com or Houston Chronicle, P.O. Box 4260, Houston, TX 77210. Visit her blog at www.blogs.chron.com/careerrescue.

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