- Make it a project. If you don’t need a new job right away, forget about job hunting until your target is clear and specific. Design your career first. Then search for the job when you know exactly what you are seeking.
- Become a career detective. Look for clues about how you and the workplace best fit together so you don’t wind up squeezed into the wrong job. Since employers pay you to perform specific functions, start your job hunt by thinking about what you do happily, naturally, perhaps even brilliantly: your innate talents and a lifetime of experiences.
- Focus on your strengths. There is a split in hiring strategies today. Some organizations look for the person with the perfect resumé. Others know that, in an ever-more-competitive world, they need to find the best people. That’s where someone over 50 has an advantage over younger workers; you have the experience and wisdom to get the job done well now.
- Research jobs that seem to fit. Read, search online, and talk with several people who do exactly the job you are considering. Keep whittling down until you can decide on one or two specific job descriptions. Specificity has power. Casting a wide net is usually a mistake because you can’t be everything to everyone. Start your job search with a definite target.
- Conduct a smart job search. Few people find the perfect job through online job listings. And, these days, decision-makers prefer to hire people they know. The most effective strategy is to find creative ways to get to meet and speak with several decision-makers: people who could actually hire you to do the job you want. Then, when a job becomes available, you have something better than the perfect resumé, you are known.
- Persist. An effective job search takes time. You will be rejected several times, perhaps many times, before you land the job you want. Since we all tend to resist discomfort, it is natural to avoid any activity that leads what the mind interprets as failure. As a result, people often give less time to their job search in each successive week. Defuse this reaction by realizing that you will hear “no” many times before you hear “yes.” It is just part of the game.