Here are eight rules for getting hired today in the current environment of ageism, the Great Resignation, and the ever-changing job market.
Second-act expert Nancy Collamer offers four key mindsets and 8 actions those of us that are “older” can use to be up-to-date, overcome ageism and put our best selves forward.
Nancy is an author, speaker, and recognized expert on semi-retirement. She writes for NextAvenue, Forbes Magazine, and is the author of Second-Act Careers: 50+ Ways to Profit from Your Passions During Semi-Retirement. She is also a retirement coach and has been featured on media outlets such as NBC Nightly News, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, CNN, Ladies Home Journal, Redbook, Marketwatch, and Fortune.
Nancy’s Company Website: mylifestylecareer.com/
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Transcript: Eight Rules for Getting Hired Today
Paul Long: [00:00:00] So what the hell do I do now? A question so many people are asking. Well, in the first place because they may be lost their job or they’re going to lose their job or for whatever reason, they need to find a new way to bring in an income. And it’s a daunting and it’s hard. And if you’re older, you got ageism, which is a negative multiplier. So what? What do you do? Well, I’ve got an expert here that can give you her eight rules for getting hired for having an income. And it’s from Nancy Colmar, and she is an expert. She knows what she’s talking about. She’s got a proven track record. I mean, she is a long term columnist for Next Avenue. She’s been featured in The New York Times, NBC, Nightly News, CNN, Wall Street Journal, MarketWatch. She is an author. One of her books is Second Act Careers 50 Plus Ways to Profit From Your Passions during semi-retirement, 50 plus ways that tells you she gives you the tools, the insights and the rules that you need. So let’s get started with our interview by how do you get started?
Paul Long: [00:01:11] I know there’s a lot of angst amongst many people, especially those over 50, as to what am I going to do to keep my job, find a job, earn income? What am I going to do? And I can’t even figure that out yet? What’s the first step?
Nancy Collamer: [00:01:25] Yeah, so the first thing I would say is to recognize that we are going through a crisis period that the we are living through something that is really unprecedented in our lifetime. If you think back to just one month ago, your life was probably very, very different.
Paul Long: [00:01:46] And by the way, it’s early April that we’re recording this interview. Yes.
Nancy Collamer: [00:01:51] Yeah. So the first thing I would say to people is you don’t know what you don’t know and the. It is very difficult and quite frankly, very dangerous to try to predict what this new normal is going to look like. So the first thing is to to recognize that and to give yourself permission to say, I don’t know what the future looks like.
Paul Long: [00:02:21] So don’t make any real quick decisions or commitments yet.
Nancy Collamer: [00:02:26] Exactly, exactly. You don’t want to act quickly, because right now, if you act quickly, chances are you are acting out of fear, and that tends to be a really bad place to operate from. So I think there are things you can do right now to help move for yourself forward. But if you can hold off on taking action and let me say Paul, that that said, obviously if you are in dire economic condition and you need that quick job to fill in now to make money, that’s a different story. But for most people. Try to use this time now to reflect on what’s next and to begin to explore new options so that when this immediate crisis period passes, you will be in a better place to operate and to take action. Well, and let’s talk,
Paul Long: [00:03:28] Let’s talk through what that looks like because reflection and research. You know it it could be that, for instance, I still need to keep working and I’m concerned about losing my job or I have to find a job or I’ve been a stay at home parent. I’ve been out of the workforce, whatever. We can certainly look at what we’ve done in the kind of obvious fashion. But as I’ve heard, other people say, this is may be a good time to be a little bit more imaginative. Go outside those barriers. But how do I kind of identify what those are and what might be right for me and I might be right for it?
Nancy Collamer: [00:04:09] Yeah, yep. Great questions. So the first thing that I would say is for as much as people about the whole concept of reinvention. Now let me let me ask you, you reinvent.
Paul Long: [00:04:26] I’m sorry, you broke up there.
Nancy Collamer: [00:04:28] So let’s you know you’re breaking up.
Paul Long: [00:04:32] Oh yeah, we’re kidding. Ok, let’s try it. Let’s. If you could start your answer with. That’s a great. That’s a great question, Paul. No. Start it with your answer of OK, so so how do we kind of think out of the box?
Nancy Collamer: [00:04:50] Ok. It’s a great question. And the first thing that I would say is try to think about what’s next, not in terms of a complete reinvention, but how can you recycle and repurpose your skills and your experiences in a slightly different direction? In other words, how can you how can you pivot? How can you swivel into what’s next? And if you think about your career careers, really have two pieces to them. You have your job function, you’re an accountant, you’re an HR manager and you have your industry function. So you’re in the airline industry. You’re in the insurance industry. The the easiest type of career pivot to make is to simply be stick with your job function, but to do it in a different industry, and that’s something a lot of people are going to be looking at going forward. Clearly, there are certain industries right now that have taken a terrible hit, you know, the airline industry being one of them. But the health care industry right now is booming with opportunity. So if you’ve been an HR manager for for an airline, that might be a solution for you that you can go work for something in health care or in a different industry where there might be some opportunity for you. And then if you can’t make that type of shift, then you want to look at, well, maybe within my industry, maybe you’re in an industry that’s doing OK, but you want to somehow shift your job function slightly. So if you’ve been the person who’s been the H.R. manager, maybe now is the time to get into training or into a different function within a HR or the most difficult type of career transition to make is when you simultaneously tried to shift both your industry focus and your job function at the same time. And that’s that’s a pretty big leap to me.
Paul Long: [00:07:09] So that’s a really good point because what you’ve just done is you’ve said fundamentally. A you’re in this sector, which makes you potentially more attractive because you’re already in the automotive industry or something like that, or you have the skill sets and you have the skill sets and obvious abilities, but applying them to something entirely new and different. What about two down? Levelling for lack of a better term. Well, I’ve been an HR manager. Your colleague Chris Farrell wrote an article some time ago before the virus. About three people who had, you know, pretty decent professional jobs and ones driving a truck for a gold mine. Somebody else is working for an airline. As one of those redcoats with Delta Airlines, and then somebody else was actually helping car people around on a hospital, and they loved it, and we’re earning the income that they need. So do you consider that something to think about as well, that you might need to step down on the ladder?
Nancy Collamer: [00:08:17] Yeah, absolutely, and particularly for people over 50. You know, Paul, I mean, we we’ve known for years that age discrimination is out there over the last couple of years during this roaring economy, which now seems like ancient history. It became a little bit easier for people over 50 to find work. Sadly, I think it’s it’s the tide has turned, and now it’s going to become much more difficult for people over 50 to to find jobs. But one of the things I always say to people is it’s so important to think outside the job box. I know everybody wants to find that job with benefits, but that may not be possible right now. And so the question becomes not just what job can I find, but how can I contribute as a freelancer, as a consultant by taking on projects? It becomes really important to think outside the box.
Paul Long: [00:09:24] Well, you raise a really good point. What you just described at the end of your responses, a.k.a. the gig economy, which has been growing rapidly across the board and fundamentally that’s being a freelancer or a contract worker where you might get hired and never even go into an office or work remotely from anywhere in the world on projects. Or we’re going to have you help our marketing department for a year or something like that. And so many other variations. The latest number I heard was a thirty five percent of gig workers are already people over 50. And that number is expected and percentages expect to go up. And I would also have to think that the gig economy might be the way a lot of companies and businesses are going to have people so that they don’t have to onboard them, pay all those costs and have the flexibility that we’ve now learned the hard way. Maybe a new reality. So your take on that and boomers or people over 50 in the gig economy?
Nancy Collamer: [00:10:31] Yeah, absolutely. And, Paul, one of the things in my role with the next avenue that I got to do is every year I go to the Indeed.com conference and for people who are familiar, indeed is the world’s largest job search engine. And one of the things I always enjoy about that conference is they they have economists who speak about the future of the job market. And I I attended last year’s conference, and I remember the chief economist saying, you know, we know a recession is coming, we don’t know when it will happen or what will trigger it, but we know it will happen. And we know that what happens when a recession hits is that employers quickly decrease the amount of hiring that they do disproportionately to what is happening in the economy. It’s an easy thing that they can control is they just hit the brakes on hiring. Now that’s that’s hard to hear, but that’s what happens. But what you have to remember is the work of the company doesn’t stop. But rather than hiring people, because when you hire somebody, you have benefits and other costs associated with it, there they do hire contractors and freelancers. So we can expect to see the number of job hires go way down. But I think we will also see the number of freelancers and opportunities for people who perhaps start a small business on their own to find projects go up.
Paul Long: [00:12:26] Good point, and so in this time of reflection and research, that is something to research of. You know, first of all, it’s a little more thorough understanding of what is the gig economy on Pro Boomer. I posted a short video from Marketplace that that goes into exactly or excuse me, MarketWatch what, what, what the gig economy is, and it explains it. And it also talks about people over 50 being a part of it and to think about how you can transfer your skills and the big thing, can you do it technologically? Can you be set up like this with with Zoom and Skype and such, which will be the tools that you’ll need in order to share it?
Nancy Collamer: [00:13:09] One of the and I think, you know, that’s been one of the good things about what’s going on right now is people are getting practice with things like Zoom and they’re they’re learning. These technologies work from home technologies, not by choice, but because they’re the only way that they can connect with their kids right now and their grandkids right now. So I think actually that will be something positive that will come out of this. And you’re absolutely right that I think we are that that will be a trend that we will see emerge from this whole pandemic is opportunities for work from home roles. Whether that means as a work from home employee or as a contractor or a freelancer, or going to become more commonplace because companies have been forced into this. And in some cases they’re saying, Wow, you know, we can’t wait to get back into the office. But I suspect there are a lot of companies that are saying, Wow, this is actually proved to be really interesting, and it’s actually works a lot better than we expected. So I think that’s another potential piece of good news for people, particularly as they get older and they may not want to commute to work, and they’re really looking for things that they can do from home. I’m hopeful that this will help to generate more opportunities for good work from home professional jobs going forward.
Paul Long: [00:14:43] Yeah. Good point. And also just for the sake of clarity, I kind of define the gig economy in two different sectors. One is it’s like an uber driver or someone doing some sort of personal service work. But the other one’s more the professional thing where you go on Upwork or fiber and, you know, graphic artists or I.T. people or administrators or things of that sort. And the beauty is and I think for anybody, but especially people over 50 who are kind of like, well, I still needed income, but I don’t want to go into the office. I don’t want to have to commute. I don’t want to put in 40 or 50 hours a week. This gives you that life flexibility as well as plus new and different things. So. So there’s a lot of potential upside for for people’s lifestyles. Yeah.
Nancy Collamer: [00:15:35] Yeah, and I think to that point, Paul, you know, I’ve kept my obviously I kept my eye in the space for a number of years now. And one of the good things that is happening is there are more and more and more platforms that are out there for people to work in the gig economy in all sorts of of different ways that you might not have even thought of before. So there are sites where you can if you’re a writer where you can find really high quality writing jobs, or if you’re somebody who’s looking for ways to resell items that you have in your homes, there’s a variety of places that you can do that. Great Site is a site called Side Hustle. It’s spelled Excel dot com. And on that site, you will find literally hundreds of gig platforms where you can find all sorts of different ways that you can either use your talents as a good worker or you can sell items. And and this is also this is a big area that is is growing and evolving and I think holds real promise for older people and possibilities for people in in retirement. And you know, I’ve interviewed people for Next Avenue who take an advantage of these gig platforms. I remember a conversation I have with a gentleman who had been a vice president of a company, but his real passion was dogs. He just absolutely loved animals. And so he decided he would sort of test it out by going on Rover Dotcom. He thought, You know, I don’t want to invest all the time and money building my own website and marketing my own business. Let me try doing this through rover, and by using that platform, it was really easy for him. He was able to quickly set up a web presence through rover. And he became a dog walker. And he at the time I interviewed him, he was earning about fifteen hundred dollars a month. And he absolutely loved it.
Paul Long: [00:17:57] Yeah, that’s so the bottom line here is that to kind of bring this back up to where we were, don’t make any quick decisions now, use the time for reflection and research. So that reflection or that research is certainly just like what we’ve been talking about research the gig economy, research something like that in the reflection thing. It’s certainly what what are your skills? What are you good at doing? Where are your gaps in doing something? What you do in the next thing you suggested that we talk about which I love is that you know what role you want to play in your life going forward. And we’ve been kind of talking about that. Yeah, the thing the thing that I think this is an aspirational thought that this is also how we get where we want to go in life, right, is that if I’ve got to make a change. Like you said, if I have got an immediate, dire situation, I’ve just got to get something right now, but you also still have to think about long term, but if you do have time, it’s like, Well, as long as I have to change, I’m going to change in a direction. I want to change it. That being over 50, I know better and it’s important for the rest of my life going forward that I’m doing what something that I want to do and that I find fulfilling. That just seems like a really strong likelihood and at least aspiration to undergo this. But your take on that.
Nancy Collamer: [00:19:23] Yeah. So I think a really important question to ask yourself is. When have I added the most value and this can be in both your personal life and in your work life? Because when you have the ability and the skills to add value, that is always attractive, whether it’s to an employer or to potentially somebody to hire you on a, you know, again on a freelance or project or contract basis. But really think about when, when have I added value? What were the projects that I was handling? What were the skills that I was using? When did people really say to me, Wow, you know, that was a great job that you did? When did you feel really valued by other people? And when you reflect on that, I think it can help you connect not just your skills and your interests and the things that you enjoy doing. But it or bring clarity around those things, but it connects those things to a need that in the marketplace and at the end of the day, all businesses are really set up to solve problems. And so the question becomes How can you be an agent of change? How can you be of service? How can you be a value in a way that other people really? And when I say people, organizations, businesses really need right now?
Paul Long: [00:20:54] Yeah. And that’s a really, really, really, really big point because I think of an interview that I did last week with Karen Sands, who’s Force magazine, said it ranks as one of the top 50 futurists, women futurists in the world. And and she talked about, I’m sorry. Oh, you froze up.
Nancy Collamer: [00:21:17] Ok. Yeah, you did. What’s that? You did, too.
Paul Long: [00:21:22] Ok. All right. I think we’re back on. Your breaking. You brought up a really good point that I’ve heard others, including Karen Sands, who’s a futurist, that I did an interview with last week, and that is is that in this different world that we’re going to have post-pandemic? You need to enter. You need to find the intersection between your skills, abilities and desires with what people are looking for, what companies are looking for, businesses and looking for or whatever. Like Wayne Gretzky, the famous hockey player said. Know when somebody said, Why are you so successful? He says, Because I don’t go to where the puck is, I go to where the puck is going. So that that was a key point that you brought up. A second big point that you brought up in this, it’s like, OK, how do we effectuate all this? I’ve got all this stuff going on in my head possibilities and stuff, and it gets kind of hard to sort it all out. So your next thing was network. Use your network. Expand on that.
Nancy Collamer: [00:22:28] You know. Yeah. I cannot stress this point enough that the big advantage people have when you are over 50 is that you have had many, many years to create both personal and professional networks. And you know, Paul, I mean, we can’t predict what this new economy is going to look like right now. We can pontificate on it. But the truth of the matter is we don’t know. But the one thing I can say for sure is that the way you are going to find your next opportunity, whether that means a job or a project or a freelance opportunity, or perhaps just an interesting way to volunteer in retirement is almost certainly going to be through your network. And so now, while everybody is hunkered down at home, is actually a really, really good time to reach out and connect with people who you have not spoken with in a while or people who you might be in contact with, but now you have an opportunity to have a really meaningful one hour telephone conversation with them. You know, go through that list of contacts on your LinkedIn profile and say, Hey, would you be interested in doing virtual coffee meeting for 30 minutes? I’d love to hear what’s going on with you, what you’re working on. Let’s just connect that way. You know, we all have so many connections that we are very sort of. New sections, you know, their second or third party connections, and now is a golden opportunity to really turn those into strong connections. And that’s the way you are going to find the next opportunity going forward. Now, I do want to be very clear here that I’m not suggesting you reach out to your network and say, Hey, how can you help me find my next job? That is not what this is about. It’s about establishing meaningful connections, having good conversations, finding ways you can help that other person and establishing that foundation. And then down the road when you are actively job searching, then you have a real connection with that person.
Paul Long: [00:25:04] And that’s a very good point that in the first place it is, it is reconnecting and seeing where it’s go going. And at the very least, that reconnection could be beneficial down the road. That person thinks of you when they see an opportunity or whatever. The other thing I found, I mean, in general, it’s it’s it’s kind of a mastermind light, if you will, in which you’re connecting with someone. You’re hearing about their situation, you’re sharing. They have ideas for you. But I got to tell you sometimes when I and this this happened yesterday, I was helping somebody else with the challenge that they had, and it gave me like two major realizations that I apply to what I’m trying to do. So it’s it’s just a wonderful thing to do. It’s a healthy thing to do.
Nancy Collamer: [00:25:48] Absolutely. Absolutely. Yeah. Can’t can’t stress that enough, and like I said right now, you know, there’s there’s a lot that you can complain about right now and a lot of things to be worried about. But the big asset we all have right now is is time and the fact that most people are hunkered down at home. So take, you know, make the most of that.
Paul Long: [00:26:11] So this has been great. Don’t make quick decisions. Reflect and research. Think out of the box as long as look at new possibilities. Do the research about learning about gig economy or what other sectors or other ways that you could apply your talents and skills. As long as you’re at it, think about it in a context of which, as you say, you provided the most value to yourself and to to the endeavor or the people that you were serving and make it potentially in a lifestyle situation that you find beneficial. The greatest asset that we have is our networks. Use it, use it, use it. One thing that we didn’t go over, and I know this is a big thing and that skills. So in these pivots or change of direction, we may see that we’re lacking some skills. And I know that what I’ve heard from some people in the job industry, that one issue sometimes with older workers is that they’re not skilled up, quote unquote. You’re taken suggestion on that.
Nancy Collamer: [00:27:19] Yeah, again, this is the. Best time to take advantage of all of the free online learning opportunities that are out there. First, obviously, you need to really think about what it is that you might do next and then assess where your gaps are. And once you establish, OK, I need to learn this technical skill or I need to learn more about how to do X, Y or Z, then take advantage of all of the free online learning that is out there and there. You know, there are places like Coursera. There is Linda, which is the the learning portal through LinkedIn, and by the way, a lot of library systems. You can connect to that through through library systems for free. There are entrepreneurs who offer training on different types of things again, and oftentimes they do introductory classes for free. So this is just a wonderful time to think about, OK, what skills do I need to acquire and how can I go about getting those those skills? And so I’m so glad you brought up that point, because it’s really, really imperative that people continue to take advantage of learning opportunities while they are at home. And it also gives you something that you can put on your resume and talk about during an interview to show that you have been proactively learning and moving your career ahead.
Paul Long: [00:29:04] And that is a huge point that you just touched on that again with some some of the feedback from hiring managers and such that the issue with the older worker that they’ll argue isn’t ageism. It’s the fact that that person isn’t up to date or doesn’t indicate that they’ve tried to stay up to date. So, for instance, a lousy LinkedIn page says this person’s not in the groove of the way the world is now period. And that’s a legitimate telltale, especially when you have fifteen hundred applicants and you’re almost looking for reasons to get rid of people to consider. But being skilled up and and you know, for instance, you can get certification like, let’s say, some web based thing. You can be Google certified, you can be LinkedIn certified, something like that that shows that, oh, wow, this person is really up to date. And if it applies to a business or what you’re doing, that’s all the more critical. And last but not least, there all are also paid certifications and training. If it’s something more involved, be very, very careful. Look for the reviews and such because some people promise you the moon and give you a junkyard. So but but that’s a huge point. So one last thing I really want to value your time here and really appreciate this. This is this is really phenomenal stuff that people will find so useful. So overarching. When we got on this interview, you said that just this morning, going for a walk and practicing social distancing. You had an idea for a new blog post that was along these lines. Please share that with us.
Nancy Collamer: [00:30:49] Yeah. So I always say I do some of my best thinking when I’m out and walking, and of course, I have lots of opportunity to do that right about now. And I was thinking, you know, it’s such a challenging time for people right now, and it’s so easy to feel overwhelmed. And yet it’s so important to focus on the things that you can control. And I thought, OK, what would be a couple of steps that I would say to people? These are things you can do right now to help calm yourself down, to feel like you’ve got better control over your situation, and hopefully it will help you move forward. And really, they are many of the steps that we’ve talked about during the interview. So the first one is to reflect, to take some time to think about what do I do? Well, what have I accomplished? What have I been of greatest value and all of those questions? And by the way, I pull. With I have a free download for people who sign up for my free news.
Paul Long: [00:32:05] So you broke up a little bit. You have. You have a free, you have a free download.
Nancy Collamer: [00:32:10] Oh yes, we broke. I have a free book on the site. It’s a twenty five questions that now is a great time to work on that. So people go over to my website at my lifestyle career. You can download that. So reflect is the first step. The second step is to use this time to investigate, as we’ve just been discussing, investigate classes, investigate new ways that you might be able to pivot within your career. One of my favorite resources is industry associations can be a great way to get a new certification or to learn about little niches within your industry focus that might be a good place for you to consider. As I said before pivoting into so that’s the second step is to investigate. The third step, as we talked about, is to connect to really reach out to your network and establish meaningful connections. And the last step is something that we didn’t talk about, but it’s it’s help. It’s finding a way to help during this time period. I think you will find, you know, clearly the data has never been greater. But by helping others, you will help yourself. And so those four steps again, it’s reflect, investigate, connect and help. And oddly enough, what I realized was those four words begin with our AI, and it’s rich. And I think if you do those four things, it really will enrich your life. As I said before, it’s going to open up possibilities for you. It’s going to make you feel more in control of your life. It’s going to give you hope. And I think when you have all of that, your ability to find good employment opportunities to find good freelance possibilities expand over time.
Paul Long: [00:34:13] So our AI, C.H. reflect, investigate, connect and health, and we’ll be seeing a help, excuse me, all health and help right now.
Nancy Collamer: [00:34:24] Health is important, too.
Paul Long: [00:34:26] Yeah. Excuse me. Fantastic. And we’ll be seeing that blog soon on Next Avenue, right
Nancy Collamer: [00:34:33] On my lifestyle career,
Paul Long: [00:34:34] Excuse me, lifestyle career. So, Nancy, this has been absolutely fantastic. This is such useful and helpful information and perspective that I’m going to say I really hope we do another interview very soon and take this even further. So thank you so much and stay healthy.
Nancy Collamer: [00:34:52] Great, thank you.
Paul Long: [00:34:53] If you like this, there’s a lot more on YouTube. Also, there’s even more on new way forward. That’s new way fWt. There you can subscribe. You’ll get a free newsletter regularly, you’ll get special updates and you’ll get a free download to help you step by step. Get going on your new way forward.