Top 9 Job Search Tips For 2019

Many of us go through career changes – sometimes voluntarily and often involuntarily! So let’s get started on our “9 tips for 2019," from the podcast archives of The Successful Encore Career from Employment For Seniors.

1) Managing a Successful Career Change

A key to a career disruption is to immediately begin to move through the change.  We all want to “hide under the covers” for a while, but financially we can't do that.  If we immediately hit the ground running, we'll have more motivation, momentum and likely more success.

  • We need to deal with our transitions logically and move past the emotions
  • Know our family needs us to move on
  • Use all of our networks and contacts – everything we're involved with (e.g. social organizations)
  • And don't be embarrassed or afraid to ask for help – someone will come to your aide, and in turn you can help another in the future.
2) Transferable Skills

“Transferable skills” are often touted buzz words, but not always clear in meaning.

Why is it important to know and understand transferable skills?

  • Strengthen your marketability for a position by clearly communicating your transferable skills
  • Employers want to know you have the skills to do their job.
  • Understand the skills you've learned in previous jobs that you're bringing to a new job
  • Leverage your application and show you're the most qualified candidate 

Identify Your Transferable Skills:

  • Think about the skills you used in your last job – what were you successful at?  
  • What were you responsible for?  
  • Write down the skills used to reach your accomplishments

Break down each job on your resume by those skills, then compare the list of skills to the position description of the job you're considering .  See what matches.  Then prepare examples of how you used those skills to provide the interviewer with powerful “accomplishment” statements.

Transferable Skills will...

  • Make your job search more logical
  • Provide for a strong resume and cover letter
  • Enhances the job interview with strong statements of your successes
  • Let’s the employer/interviewer know you're the best candidate!
3) Lifelong Learning

Learning – sounds difficult.  Yet how many of us have learned to book an airline flight, or found a new restaurant online?  Did we follow our grandchildren on Facebook?  Or possibly learned a new card game, a new piece of piano music?  We are likely learning something new every day.  And learning will make us great job candidates!

One major issue mentioned by many employers, regarding mature job seekers, is their inability to learn new skills.  Qualified applicants have to convince employers that they're not only able to learn new skills, but they consider learning to be an important step in their continued success in the workplace.

Computer skills are usually the first issue facing older workers.  Technology changes each minute – how can anyone keep up?  There are many other skills critical in today’s job search, such as writing, communications, listening, public speaking, math/accounting/budgeting, leadership, teaching/training/tutoring, and many more.

Our role as a job seeker is to provide employers with an overview of our up-to-date skills and the successes we've had using those skills over the years.  Our resumes, cover letters, and interviews should highlight all of our skills, but particularly those we've more recently learned and/or updated.

Mature job seekers have many opportunities to learn!  A huge proportion of those opportunities are free of charge, or very reasonably priced, either located right here in our community, or online.  Central Ohio has many learning opportunities.

NEW RESOURCE: At the Columbus Metropolitan Library, you can now use your library card to enter online courses through LYNDA.  Normally the courses have a cost, but use the portal through the library website with your library card and you have thousands of courses at your fingertips - free!

4) How To Prepare For An Interview

Interviewing can be a very difficult step for mature job seekers, yet it's one of the most important steps any job seeker can make.  They only have one chance for a great first impression.  What are the basic steps a mature job seeker take to prepare for an interview before the crucial day?

  • De-stress before the interview using relaxation techniques such as exercise, deep breathing, visualization, or whatever works for you (excluding alcohol).
  • Be sure your application materials (e.g. resume, cover letter) are perfect, references have been pulled together, and you have done your research on the company.
  • Ensure that you have a professional interviewing dress/suit in which you're comfortable. You should dress one step above what your supervisor on the job would wear.
  • Make a dry run past the location of the interview a day or two in advance so that you'll know how long it takes to get there.  Always arrive to the interview about 10 minutes early.  
  • Practice your answers to commonly asked interview questions OUT LOUD.  Mock interviews or informational interviews are a great preparatory tool.  Reading and memorizing your answers is not good enough.  Believe me, it is another ball game to have to answer out loud to another person in a high-stress environment.
5) National Volunteer Week

Often individuals wonder how they have time to volunteer.  Just know each of us can make a difference in our world; we can help others and make organizations better.

The ultimate volunteer opportunity may also teach us something new!  You may be in need of updating your computer skills, or maybe it's been a long time since you’ve worked in an office situation.

Volunteering at a great nonprofit, could also provide you with chances to learn new computer programs, schedule other volunteers, or provide customer service on the phone or in person.

Update skills for:

  • Communications skills
  • How to plan projects and carry out the plans, take on leadership roles, team leader, or management
  • Written skills, analysis, data measure/management
  • And opens up opportunities to new career areas – you're learning new skills for a new career path, and also “try a new job – test the waters” in a job as a volunteer, as opposed to taking on a job that you may not end up liking.

It also:

  • Closes gaps on your resume
  • Opens up your network
  • Helps to look at jobs in new career areas
  • Find jobs that are not posted
  • Gives you a plan for your day – you're interacting with others, giving back to your community, and broadening your perspective of your world.
6) Managing Interview Expectations

There are so many times during a job search that our frustrations hit the wall!  Here are some key times that we can find troublesome – here's what you should expect to happen!

"My resume/online application goes into cyberspace"

  • The employer may not have the resources to do the follow-up
  • It's not necessary that an employer let you know they received your application – it would be nice, but does not happen.
  • A follow up is needed – contact them to be sure they've received your application and a second time to determine if they have questions.

"I’m the perfect candidate, what can I do to get my name out there?"

  • Be sure the resume fits the job description closely
  • Be sure that you do actually fit the job description – be sure to read it clearly

"No one gets back to me."

  • Should they get back to you? Yes, but don't expect it.
  • Often interviewers aren't seasoned – and don't see the importance of it.
  • You should ask what the next steps are or what the timeline at the end of the interview, so that they have some idea of what to expect.
  • After interview, should follow up!
  • During an interview – don’t expect the recruiter to be good at their job.

"I didn’t get the job and don’t know why."

  • Avoid the pre-conceived notion that it may be your age.
  • There may be issues outside your scope:  internal hire, recommended by a company executive, other connection
  • The interviewer may have nothing to do with this – they may not have anything to do with the actual hiring
  • Use the interview as a learning opportunity, even if not successful.  
  • Don't be discouraged.  You must recognize that you've gone into a competition blind, that is, you don't who the competition is (vs. sports), what their talents/skills are, and can't control any of it.
  • Don’t draw conclusions and always keep a very positive attitude

Tips to handle "bad news."

  • Exit graciously.  Try to not question.  If the winner didn’t work out, they just may come back and reconsider you.  Don't burn any bridges.
  • Use job fairs to your advantage – remain in contact with companies of interest, where can make face-to-face connection and learn more.  You are interacting with that company and maybe even the competition.

Tips overall

  • Companies have different abilities, time, priorities, resources.  This can be based on size, on ownership.  So you can't assume everyone will deal with interviewing/hiring in the same way.
  • Do your research to determine he company culture, which can be helpful in keeping your expectations real.  See how they treat their employees.
  • Don’t make assumptions. 
  • Adjust your expectations.
  • Utilize websites for your research (e.g. Glassdoor, OhioMeansJobs, etc)
7) The 30-Second Elevator Speech 

Your “30-Second Elevator Speech” is very important in the job search process.

  • It's an excellent way to begin the focus needed in your job search; how to hone in on your goals and the job opportunities you wish to pursue.  It's telling another individual what you can do today, what skills you have right now, so that you'll gain a new employment position tomorrow.
  • It doesn't need to be 30 seconds – it can be just 10 seconds.  What's important is that it answers the question, “What do you do?”without wearing out your welcome.
  • You present yourself so that you're memorable, so they'll remember you and what you do.  You have given them enough information so that they can help you in your job search.  It can clearly define your transferable skills also.
  • Be comfortable with what you're saying, not just a practiced/memorized speech.
  • It provides you the ability to present a much clearer picture of your accomplishments and success in previous positions
  • It's great “practice” for interviewing
  • Excellent method to use at job fairs and networking events to “break the ice”
8) Get Ready for the Career Expo 

Before attending any job fair, you need to...

  • Clarify your goals: What do you expect from this event (e.g., job opportunities, new contacts, new career path)? 
  • Get focused: know what types of positions are of interest to you.
  • Review and research: identify companies you plan to target; visit their websites. Show the recruiter you're a prepared candidate. 
  • Prepare questions: ask questions to determine if the company would be a good fit for you. (example: What skills are needed for this position?). Questions allow valuable opportunities for you to talk with recruiters. 
  • Prepare your resume: resumes are the first item an employer will see, so make it perfect. Obtain help to create and review your resume. 
  • Design a “one minute commercial” about yourself: first impressions are critical; prepare and practice your commercial.  
  • Attend the workshops: register and attend any career fair preparation workshops that may be scheduled prior to the event.

The day of the job fair, you should...

  • Dress appropriately: wear professional clothing. The top 18” of your body are the most noticeable, so look neat and put together. 
  • Arrive early and avoid long lines: don’t miss employers, arrive early. Find a map of the event layout and target your top employers. 
  • Materials you must bring: copies of your resume, credentials, list of references for employers who ask for them, completed job applications (if applicable),  pen/paper to take notes and a folder or portfolio to hold employer information. 
  • Show interest, enthusiasm and appreciation: 
  • Speak clearly, show confidence, and smile. Be enthusiastic, shake hands firmly and give your one-minute commercial. 
  • Ask prepared and appropriate questions. Don't ask about salary. 
  • Thank employers for their time. Ask permission to leave a resume or how to forward your resume. 
  • Materials you must have: ask recruiters for their business cards for proper follow-up. (Make notes on the back of the card to remind you about the contact.) 
  • Keep moving: don't stay too long at any one employer. You have a lot of them to see.

Within a day after the job fair, you should...

  • Follow-up: this is your most critical step. Send thank you letters or emails and include an extra copy of your resume. 
  • Online Applications: if appropriate, complete online applications and/or tests.

A week or more after the job fair, you should...

  • Keep in contact with your target employers. 
  • Send a second follow-up with recruiters by email/phone. 
  • Watch local newspaper and business publications. Check websites for press releases, updates and additional contacts. 
  • Network with family and friends for other employer contacts
9) LinkedIn 

Why is LinkedIn is so important in a job search?  Because it is the future of recruiting.

  • LinkedIn gives recruiters the opportunity to FIND “a needle in the haystack” searching through applications in the thousands
  • LinkedIn is more cost effective for the employer
  • LinkedIn lets recruiters see more information and content about you than a resume could ever be!  A recruiter can actually find you!!!

First step, create a targeted headline

  • This is the first thing a recruiter sees below your name 
  • Used for keywords for employers to search
  • A quality photo head shot is needed – if you get an interview and they see you, they’ll know your age.  Don’t be a surprise!
  • Write in the first person.
  • Sell yourself in the summary.
  • Be compelling. It's a short space to fill, but very important.
  • Engage the reader, get them to continue reading your profile.
  • Explain how you can help the employer meet their challenges and can take on the opportunities.  Make yourself searchable!
  • It's not about you – but about your reader!
  • Create a “help offered” ad!
  • Give a high level summary of your previous jobs.
  • You can add items that give more than a resume (content rich).
  • Certificates of success.
  • A white-paper that you wrote or published
  • Articles written.
  • Portfolio items.
  • Website.
  • Examples of programs and/or apps you’ve written.
  • Add skill, and list up to 50. Pick out the top three and they can be displayed, then employer can look at the rest. 
  • Searchable by recruiters.
  • Get endorsements and recommendations.
  • Ask people to endorse and comment on your work.
  • Or, give recommendations – just like the recommendations you can get from former supervisors, vendors, supporters, funders, etc.
  • Get connected.
  • Be sure to introduce yourself and why you want to connect.  
  • Be sure to connect with others that reach out to you.
  • Show how tech savvy you can be!
  • Remember quality not quantity of information
  • You don't have to pay for LinkedIn, but you do need to make it work

So to recap, here's what we suggest for 2019 with these 9 Top Job Search Tips:
  • Finding a job is a formal process and a successful job search can be accomplished with a bit of homework.
  • Gather the information and resources you need – use agencies like Employment For Seniors to assist.
  • Be sure you have all of your job search materials done and they are “perfect,” and extend that to other facets, such as interviewing – practice, practice, practice!
  • Discover ways to update your skills, learn something new.
  • Open your network through volunteering.
  • Get that “Elevator Speech” ready and attend events that will help you find the “hidden job market," such as job fairs.
  • Don't shun social media – embrace it!  Use LinkedIn and other networking/internet opportunities to be a successful job searcher.


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Employment For Seniors is the premier resource linking mature adults with employment opportunities. EFS has provided career assistance and resources to nearly 30,000 clients, free of charge, over the past 40 years.  

Our trained volunteer job counselors work with clients, prepare them for their job search, and connect them to employers through our job referral process. Local employers have found a highly skilled workforce by posting their positions, free of charge, on the EFS JobMatch system. 

We look forward to working with you at Employment For Seniors! You can easily reach us at 614/863-1219 or by email at

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