(Last week we tackled part one of the sticky subject of age and the bias that may hold you back as an older job-seeker. Read part one, first.)
Take care of yourself. Getting older requires you to pay more attention to your body than when you were younger.
It is important to listen to your body’s messages! Move your body, eat well, get enough sleep, drink enough water, and take care to keep your mindset in a positive place.
Podcasts and guided meditations are my go-to resources. My current favorite meditation app is Insight Timer. Try any of the guided meditations by Sarah Blondin of Live Awake Project (my absolute favorite is Learning to Surrender).
If you are a wannabe meditator who dreads the idea of sitting in complete silence, consider beginning and/or ending your day with an 8-12 minute guided meditation. Do it for 90 days—heck, do it for 30 days, even just Monday through Friday if you want to take some time off on the weekends—you will be amazed at how your view of what’s possible will shift.
Make personal connections. Folks who are mid- to later-career, especially those making a career transition, typically land new roles not through the website, what I call the front door, but by going to the back door. Get out from behind your computer and network, even if it is uncomfortable for you (few people love networking, so you are not alone).
The easiest way to network is to cultivate your curiosity.
In fact, I would say curiosity is essential to successful career change. Construct your go-to questions for when you engage with others about your career, bringing an authentic energy to your conversations. Ask open-ended questions (meaning questions that start with what or how or describe or explain) that encourages the other person to expound.
People love to talk about themselves and what they do; use that to your advantage.
Be careful with peoples’ time; only ask people whom you are genuinely interested in what they are doing. Asking for an informational interview cannot be, “Can you help me get a job in your company?” Rather, it must be something like, “I’ve made a short-list of compelling companies to work for, and yours made the list. It appears to be a great place to work. I have a few questions I would like to ask you about what it is like on the inside. Would you be willing to have a short conversation with me?” (You get the idea).
Also, one of the questions to ask must be, “What is your biggest challenge, and how can I help you with it?” You may be surprised at the person’s answer, and perhaps you will find a way to provide some value to the person in exchange for their assistance in helping you.
Don’t take it personally. If you look at the management team for a company and it’s all people younger than you, and then you go to the interview and you feel like you’re the oldest person there, don’t fret.
Although you may be sensitive to your age, don’t assume others are.
Stay optimistic and make your best effort to show them who you are, what you can contribute, and how you can help them. If you don’t get the job, don’t assume it’s age-related. The key to a successful transition is to rebound from setbacks—fast—and just keep moving.
Reconnect with past colleagues. Many mid- to later-career professionals land new opportunities as a result of reconnecting with past colleagues who can provide introductions to people they know, while vouching for the value you provided for them and will do for the new employer.
If you feel awkward about reconnecting with someone you have not seen in a long time, get over it. Ninety-nine percent of the time they will be delighted to hear from you. Put your curiosity to work to chat with them—what they’ve been up to, what their biggest challenges are, and how you can help them. Be sure to let them know what you’re up to and how you are ready for your next career challenge.
You want to join an organization where you will be seen and appreciated for who you are and the value you bring.
Often, what we see in our career coaching company is that mid- to later-career professionals’ biggest challenge is their mindset about what is possible, more than the age issue itself. Take time to figure out what you want from this next chapter. Get, as one of our clients called it, well-dressed for the change, and go for it. You are more than equipped to reach your goals.
If you need help with your career transition, we’d be happy to help you clarify your goals, tame your mindset, and move towards that outcome. Sign up for our free intro session.