Finding a new job can be challenging at any age but for people over 50 there may be some unique challenges. For those who haven’t recently looked for work there can be a whole new world to learn: how to target companies and industries; how to create a LinkedIn™ profile; how to build a contact network on LinkedIn; how to create a modern resume and perhaps how to effectively interview. But as daunting as these may initially appear, they can all be mastered and put to good use in a job search. Most of our clients have used these tools to find new and satisfying new positions.
But just when you breathe a sigh of relief and think – “the work I’ve done has paid off and I am happily situated in my new job” you are surprised to learn your part of the organization has been sold or the function is being outsourced and your job will be eliminated. This has happened to more than one of our clients – some have made two or three changes after landing the job they thought they’d have for years.
After the shock and disappointment wears off, you find yourself thinking – “does this mean I have to start from scratch again?” The good news is no, especially if you’ve maintained your network! All of the tools you developed and the skills you learned during your first search can be revived and used again, except this time you can build on both the experience and confidence you gained in your first search. You now know a lot more about how the process works and, if you’ve stayed in touch with your network, you are much more comfortable contacting them to gain new information and learn about potential opportunities. While still challenging, the process is not nearly as formidable the second time around!
Here are some things to do to be ready for changes that may come in that new position:
- Communicate with your entire network when you start your new position and tell them you want to keep in touch and offer to be available if they should need help (then BE available).
- Select 20+ relationships in that network that you want to nurture and deepen over the next year. Make sure that you connect with them at least twice in the next year (for ideas on how to do this, see Power Your Career: The Art of Tactful Self-Promotion at Work by Nancy Burke and Richard Dodson).
- Start to build your network within your new organization: who are people at your level and higher whom you should know and who should know you?
- For every meeting you attend internally, schedule one externally
- Have one breakfast a week with internal or external contacts, or people you want to get to know.
- Join at least one professional organization and get involved, and join a LinkedIn group and participate.
If you can do these things (which don’t have to take a lot of time) you will find that, the next time you need your network, you will have a strong one waiting for you.