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Job Seekinging Boomers. What Brand does your Recruiter See?

When I ask a room of Boomers in Job Search, “Have you been interviewed by someone who could be your son or daughter?” the question normally elicits despairing shakes of the head, pained laughter and sometimes even “You mean grand daughter!”

 For the more mature job seeker, it is a genuine frustration that initial interviews are often conducted by “kids who just don’t get it.” When I hear comments like that, I am not surprised that the younger interviewer “doesn’t get” the Boomer and what they can bring to the job.

Brutal Lesson I: There is NO point in complaining about how the job market has changed; how unfair it is or that ageism exists. 

Brutal Lesson II: You have to adapt to the new playing field, and NOT be one of the Boomers who only complains and does nothing to adapt.

Brutal Lesson III: You must present a convincing and contemporary Brand to your recruiter, because you are competing against other convincing and (very, very important) contemporary Brands.

 “All very interesting, Conor,” I hear you say. “Tell me how I can present as a convincing candidate to someone who might be thirty years younger than me, has probably just finished tweetering while listening to her iPod and is so blinking bubbly that I’m getting nausea!”

(Hint: An iPod is about as relevant to Millennials as an 8 track stereo and as for ‘tweetering’!)

The answer lies in your Brand and the type of Brand Experience you generate at interview. In all aspects of live, people choose their favorite brand and this also applies even at interview. There is no objective selection process for candidates. Even after the most professional of interview processes, the decision comes down to gut instinct, chemistry, perceived match and likability. In other words, your Brand. Your relevant and contemporary Brand

Over the next few posts, I will present a very simple, memorable formula to help you showcase a great Boomer Brand. The formula spells the acronym ICE. Told you it was simple!

Improve yourself (and demonstrate it)

Connect (in a contemporary manner)

Enthusiasm (Show it. Demonstrate it. Live it.)

 Today we take the first letter of ICE. (Not difficult to remember the word ICE, is it?)

 IMPROVE Yourself

One of the unstated concerns your recruiter will have is – Are you a stick in the mud, old fuddy-duddy, or are you an adaptable clued-in candidate who responds well to change? If a recruiter asks “How have you improved yourself during job search?’ how will you respond? Can you provide a compelling answer that showcases you have made consistent, disciplined efforts to Improve yourself during this transition process? You should be able to state “I am a better candidate now and a better match for this job than when I left my last position because I have done …..  (fill in the blanks) to improve my knowledge and skill sets while in job search.”

The candidate who responds in this manner is effectively stating that they are a get-up-and-go type of individual who is interested in continuous development and growth. By showing Improvement, the candidate is presenting a vibrant, interesting and interested Brand. A Brand that is adaptable, open to change and innovation.

The candidate who does not demonstrate an ability to learn new things is unlikely to impress a recruiter who-because of your age- may already be unsure of your ability to adapt and fit in.

Action

1) Develop a disciplined plan that requires you to do something specific each day to improve your skill set and capabilities. Take something as simple as industry knowledge. The job seeker who spends one hour a day for one month studying target company strategies (via for instance Company Investor Relations page) will be a significantly better prospect at the end of that month than someone who does not do likewise.

2) Get buy in from fellow job seekers to do similar and hold each other accountable. This is critical. You need someone to motivate, cajole, annoy you into keeping going

3) Register for a MOOC (Massive Open Online Courses) program AND COMPLETE IT!

If Michael Jordan never stopped trying to improve himself, most definitely job seekers need to do similar.

Go Get ‘Em

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Conor Cunneen is author of SHEIFGAB! Staying Sane, Motivated and Productive in Job Search.