Age & Your Job Search: Is It “Just a Number”?

Will you encounter age discrimination in your next job search if you’re over 40 (or some other random number)? Very possibly. Should you let that factor define your odds of job search success? Not if you can do something about it!

Remember the classic year-end/new-year image–a doddering old man followed closely by a crawling baby? Some people might see that as a discouraging job search metaphor, but you don’t need to give in to that daunting outlook.

Age & Your Job Search–Face the Facts

age rejectionAge might be a physical fact you can’t get around–if you’re 50+, you just are. Myopic employers who view older employees as undesirable for various reasons pose some undeniable challenges. Unfortunately, this can lead to rejection of your candidacy when you pursue a job opportunity, even though you’re well qualified.

Certainly, how you choose to handle rejection can positively affect your job search and long-term career success. It just might not solve all the problems you’ll encounter that stem from ageism. Sometimes, you might need to “take a deep breath, pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and start all over again” (from a Frank Sinatra song)!

Age–Is It More than “Just a Number”?

Realistically, age discrimination could throw a big speed bump in your job search path, and you should take appropriate steps to counteract its impact from the get-go. However, you might need to do more than that.

By the way, do you know about a BIG, age-related factor that could trip you up before, during, and after job interviews?

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Artificial Intelligence & Your Job Search

What does artificial intelligence have to do with your job search? Probably more than you might think. Unless you find creative methods for your job search, you’re likely to encounter artificial intelligence (AI) along the way.

Artificial Intelligence–What is It & Why Does It Matter in Job Search?

According to Merriam-Webster, the term artificial intelligence includes “the capability of a machine to imitate intelligent human behavior.” That only touches on the topic, of course; AI involves a vast amount of information and related fields of study. However, this definition offers a starting-point with regard to job searching .

artificial intelligence-new wayIncreasingly, computers play a role in your job search. And I don’t mean just the fact that you probably use one to conduct many aspects of your search. Employers have greatly expanded their use of “intelligent” systems to streamline their hiring process. For example, think applicant tracking system (ATS) screening and one-way video interviews.

This approach might reduce their workload, but it increases the challenge for you! Doing job search the old way could have meant tedious, time-consuming steps for both of you. On the other hand, the new way demands that you understand and consider AI as a factor.

Unless you have an “in” with the hiring authority, considering AI in your job search is not optional.

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How to Avoid a Costly Performance Drop

If you’ve ever felt diminishing enthusiasm for work you’re facing in your job, you know it doesn’t feel good. However, what you might not have considered is how a drop in motivation can cause a performance drop that hurts your job security and maybe your long-term career success. The decline can happen so gradually, in fact, that you don’t fully realize it’s occurring. You might even miss seeing the problem until it’s too late to save your job.

Signs You’re in a Performance Dropperformance drop

You could discover that you’re experiencing one or more signs of a performance drop in progress, such as:

  • A stronger tendency than usual to procrastinate about launching preparations for the next project.
  • Greater-than-normal reluctance to get out of bed and head off to work in the morning.
  • Increased irritation over situations that you used to be able to shrug off easily.
  • Difficulty freeing your thought from nonessential tasks to come up with fresh ideas about the work ahead.

How to Avoid a Costly Performance Drop

nurture enthusiasmIt might be time to nurture your enthusiasm by thinking in new ways about what you do and why you do it. There’s no cure-all for lack of motivation. However, you can take a few steps to avoid letting it impact your job performance negatively, including these:

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Remember “It’s the Pause that Refreshes”? Why Should You Care?

You might be too young to remember Coca-Cola’s 1929 campaign, “It’s the pause that refreshes.” However, it does still have relevance for getting a fresh start–in your job/career or personal life.

Why does it matter? Possibly for several reasons, but I’d like to begin by sharing my own experience, which might resonate with you.

Pause Your Professional Career Treadmill

Whether you’re a business owner or an executive , you can find yourself on a relentless professional treadmill without realizing it. Unless something prompts you, that condition could continue too long.need a break

In my case, it was an external situation that caused me to “pause and refresh.” I have a son with health issues, and suddenly our dog developed something that caused me to lose significant sleep. I was the “sandwich filling” in a solo-caregiver scenario!

Furthermore, I was trying to maintain a full business schedule. That included working on client projects, discussing possible projects with prospective clients, engaging in writing articles and other marketing-related activities. It’s exhausting even to think about!

What caused me to put the brakes on? I realized this was one of those times I could NOT do it all and shouldn’t be trying to.

How to Create Your “Pause that Refreshes”

What you choose to do about your own overwhelm situation might be very different from anyone else’s.

However, as we head toward the year-end holiday season, you might want to take a deep breath and consider possibilities.

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Manage Change or It Will Manage You

As we head into the fall of the year, one thing is certain: Change is coming. Winter inevitably follows on the heels of fall–only the precise timing and extent remain unpredictable.  The same applies in many respects to your career success.

What does this mean? For starters, you need to consider the possibility of change when planning career moves, including job searches. Whether you call it contingency planning or something else, you must do it.

Why Manage Change?

If you don’t, it will happen anyway and not by your choice. Your career success might not depend solely on change management, but change can and often does affect your career plans.Manage Change-Take Control

Despite the fact that change can occur without your choice, you’ll find you can influence at least some potential changes. For example, you can often select the time-frame for planning and launching a job search. If you’re not facing something like a layoff, you might delay the job search until change would be more manageable. That puts you in the driver’s seat instead of making you a passenger who’s being moved along willy-nilly.

How to Manage Change & Support Career Success

Ignoring change achieves nothing positive. What’s more, the image of an ostrich sticking its head in the sand  is both incorrect and ineffective. However, you do have options that offer a reasonable alternative.

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Career Growth: Does Your Boss Value & Support You?

Job well done - your performance hit the bullseye

Are you considering a job search? If so, a boss who dismisses your contributions or takes credit for your work might have prompted your decision. Career growth under those conditions challenges many people and turns them into job seekers.

“Me-First” Boss Can Block Your Career Growth

Insecure bosses often suspect good employees will try to take their job. This attitude can block your professional growth.

How does that happen? The boss could downplay the value you’ve contributed. Alternatively, he or she might keep you in the background instead of bringing you to the company’s attention as a valuable employee.

Worse still, you might experience frustration over a boss who constantly takes credit for your work. Also, you will struggle for internal career advancement if your boss stands squarely in your path.

Find a Good Boss!

Are you stuck with a bad (unsupportive, career-sabotaging) boss? Consider conducting a stealth search for a better boss. Keep your eyes open for one who will value the work you do and support your career development. You need a boss who lets you know when you’ve done a good job and, most importantly, lets others know it, too.

Start by surveying the situation within your company. Can you identify managers who treat employees well? For example, do they praise their employees for good work and have people eager to join their team? If so, look for opportunities to transition to their group.

When no clear inside opportunity exists, conduct a careful “boss search.” Don’t just look for a promising job opportunity. Instead, look for hiring managers known for team building and staff development. Talk with people who work at target companies and investigate what it’s like to work for managers there. If you don’t perform your due diligence, you’ll regret it later.

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Labor Day & “Update Your Resume Month” – Is There a Link?

As we prepare to celebrate the Labor Day holiday, I was thinking about what could link that holiday with the career-focused event, “Update Your Resume Month” (initiated and sponsored by Career Directors International). At first glance, you might think there’s NO connection, but hold on. I think I can make a case for this.

Labor Day’s Meaning and Relationship to Your Job Search

According to the U.S. dot.gov website, “Labor Day, the first Monday in September, is a creation of the labor movement and is dedicated to the social and economic achievements of American workers. It constitutes a yearly national tribute to the contributions workers have made to the strength, prosperity, and well-being of our country.”

Whether or not you engage in manual labor, you have probably contributed “social and economic achievements”–benefiting your employer, of course, but also possibly reaching a wider spectrum of society.

So you could say Labor Day relates to your contributions as well as those from others.

Labor Day and “Update Your Resume Month (UYRM)”

In the context of a job search, labor=work=what you do in your work that makes a positive difference. When you target a new position, it’s important to thoroughly review the requirements and your special qualifications so you can focus employer attention effectively on them–skills, education, new responsibilities, expanded experience, and more.

Does the resume review-and-refresh activity need to be done at specific intervals or times of the year? Not necessarily. However, you do need to ensure that your resume remains up to date in terms of content, value to employers, and emphasis on relevance. For one thing, you might have added skills and qualifications. As another example, if you’ve changed positions or responsibilities recently, the focus of your resume might also benefit from a change.

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Your Job Search – The Vanishing Role of HR

You’ve seen the advice about not dealing with the human resources department at companies you’re targeting in your job search, and there were good reasons for the advice. Now the situation has worsened, according to Ask The Headhunter’s Nick Corcodillos. He never pulls his punches; however, his latest blog post, “The campaign to kill HR,” really hammers companies for the way they are (not) using HR.

If you’re planning a job search, this subject is one you need to pay attention to. Failure to take it into account could make your job search path harder. When companies say they want well-qualified candidates, do they put their money where their mouth is?

Why HR is Bad for Your Job Search

I could give several reasons. First, I want to share a taste of Corcodillos’ post:

“ZipRecruiter, Indeed, LinkedIn and a league of database companies have succeeded in killing HR’s recruiting role — and the initiative of hiring managers.

“Stripped of the function that once gave HR bragging rights for a company’s most competitive advantage — hiring great workers — HR now serves as little more than the fire hose that overwhelms companies with millions of inappropriate incoming job applications, and as the spigot that pours billions of corporate dollars into the pockets of database jockeys who know nothing about matching real people to real jobs.”

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