Tips for a Successful Job Search

Finding a job becomes increasingly more complex as technology progresses. Gone are the good ole days of walking into a business, completing an application, and answering a few interview questions. For the over-50 crowd, applying for a job can cause tremendous anxiety. Learn tips to conduct an effective job search while easing stress caused by the process.

After years of struggling with low pay and long hours, John resigned from his job as a community newspaper editor when he marked 25 years of faithful service to his readers. At the end of a much-needed vacation, he set out to find a new job in a drastically changed job market. Boy, was he stressed! Fortunately, a seasoned career counselor successfully guided him to achieve his goal of being happily employed.

Starting with a thorough investigation of top US jobs in high demand, John prepares a list of jobs that interest him. Afterward, he researches the latest trends in writing a resume. Quieting his stress with a few slow, deep breaths, he creates his first draft. Careful to pack his career history with action verbs and results-oriented accomplishments, he double-checks his writing with Grammarly, a tool to review grammar. Soon, he feels satisfied that his resume could pass the 30-second test, in which prospective employers could glean essential information.

Time for a cigarette. As he soothes his nerves with a few puffs, he reminds himself that he better quit his habit because corporate execs often view smoking as a financial burden due to increased insurance premiums and lost work due to illness. He decides to put this dreaded task on next week’s job search to-do list.

Onto the next project–John creates a LinkedIn profile to enhance his visibility to employers. Having navigated this chore quickly, he questions if he should develop a website showcasing his best writing over the years. After surfing inexpensive website platforms (WordPress.com, sites.google.com), he quickly relegates this idea to next week’s to-do list.

The Application Process

Armed with a resume and profile, he culls through his favorite online job-search engines, looking for jobs that match his qualifications. He soon clicks on a job notice to apply for the position and write a cover letter. Just as he completes a lengthy application with a personality test, he loses his internet connection, losing a least an hour of work. This calls for a large bag of potato chips and a small pack of peanut M&M’s. While chomping down his goodies, he realizes he better drop a few pounds before the interview.  

After re-doing his application, he quits for the day to enjoy a refreshing cocktail with his wife. Instead of chugging it down, he mindfully enjoys his drink by engaging all five of his senses. As he views lovely backyard trees and listens to chirping birds, he pets his beloved cat, Penelope, while relishing the scent of freshly mowed grass and savoring the flavor of his beverage. After a relaxing mini-vacation, he affirms that he will refrain from drinking alcohol on weekdays so he can stay clear-headed for interviews and the ultimate new job.

Preparing for the Interview

Within a few days, John receives an email requesting a phone interview for a promising job. He practices answering common interview questions with his wife in a mock interview. She video records his responses on his smartphone to provide immediate feedback to improve his interview performance. These job search efforts pay off; he clears the initial phone interview to land an in-person interview.

To prepare for this interview, John researches the employer’s website and anonymously visits the worksite to glean a sense of appropriate work attire. He assembles a mini portfolio in a glossy, black folder containing his resume, recommendation letters, certifications, and work samples (PDF files work well for virtual interviews). Then he prepares several thoughtful questions to pose to the interviewer, which he writes on the padfolio (leather-bound notepad) using the fountain pen. he plans to bring to the interview.

The Interview

On the morning of the big day, his wife prepares his favorite breakfast of cheesy scrambled eggs, turkey bacon, whole-grain toast, and coffee. He feasts happily as his wife assures him that he will do great.

Before shaving and showering, he carefully lays out his black wool slacks selected for his interview on his bed. Big mistake! His beloved kitty takes a short cat nap on those comfortable pants, leaving them full of white cat hair. Too stressed to make a fuss, he merely grumbles as he scrapes the hair off with a lint brush. 

Then he takes a whiff of lavender essential oil (aromatherapy) as he breathes slowly and deeply for one minute. Finally, he reminds himself that the purpose of a job interview, the pinnacle of the job search, is to select the candidate who best fits the job, not to judge the candidate’s worth as a person.

Job Search Finale

Upon returning home from the interview, John reports what happened to his wife. Although he felt nervous, he managed to navigate the interview questions well. He even remembered to ask a couple of good questions about the position. The interviewer told him he would hear either way by the end of the week. His wife reminds John that he prepared well and did his best. He will eventually land the job he wants if he keeps up with his game plan.

After going for a brisk walk, John hops on his computer to write a brief thank-you letter to the interviewer. Remembering to write the letter on a Word document to attach to an email, he recalls a question he fumbled during the interview and clarifies his answer in his second paragraph. He emails his letter to the interviewer that very day after careful review.

Success! He lands the job! The job search is over! Time to celebrate with a deep-dish pizza,, a pint of gooey chocolate ice cream, a half pack of cigarettes, and a couple beers. As he gobbles, puffs and swigs, he places his goal to give up his bad habits on next week’s to-do list.

Learn about a free virtual career workshop in the State of Illinois.

Image is Under license from Shutterstock.com

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