In several recent blogs I have written about the importance of recognizing that the job search market has changed. The drivers of this change are changing market conditions that require new skill sets, increased competition for the available jobs, the demands of employers for candidates who can demonstrate relevant experience and document quantifiable examples of their successes, the need to be geographically flexible in looking for a new opportunity and the rise of social media, to name a few.
Another factor that is impacting some of the Baby Boomers with their job search is the change in outplacement or transition coaching services. In the “old days” the newly unemployed went to the offices of the outplacement firm where they were given training and provided a cubicle with someone to do typing, make copies, answer the telephone, that sort of thing. That was when outplacement firms were paid like recruiters, earning a percentage of the employee’s base salary. In healthcare, those days are fast disappearing. Moreover, many have scaled back in the cubicle benefit; out of work executives are forced to manage their job search from a home office.
Many Baby Boomers have not had to look for a job in a long time and the environment, I can say based on conversations with candidates, is not very forgiving for those who are unable or unwilling to master these changes.
If you have not worked from home before, it requires a major shift in mindset. Here are some tips that may help make this transition go smoothly.
If you do not treat finding a new job as your new full-time job then I can assure you it will create problems and delay you in finding a new position.
Your home office should be in a designated space. Family members need to understand this and respect the space. If there is only one “family” computer in the house, go buy a laptop, now! You need a dedicated computer. If you don’t believe me, tell your kids they must stop playing games because you need the computer for work. When I first decided to work from home, I spent hours looking at metal vs wood buildings, and then once I had decided, I ordered one to be built ASAP. Having an extra building to work in has been amazing for me. If you have the space, I highly recommend building a home office in your backyard.
Set specific office hours and honor them. Get up like you would any other day that you drove to an office. Shower and dress in business casual attire. I am of the definite opinion that the unshaven guy who hasn’t bothered to take a shower, or the woman who interviews in a bathrobe, does not interview as well on the telephone, and I won’t even talk about those implications for Skype… It is all about confidence — and candidates should be physically and emotionally prepared.
Pay attention to the background in a Skype interview. Using the laundry room as one candidate did several years ago — underwear hanging from a makeshift clothesline as a backdrop — distracted from the overall presentation. Ensure that your home office space looks professional and fresh. Consider installing the proper lighting to improve the overall look of the space and enable everyone on the call to see you better. Also make sure that you have enough electrical outlets in the space, for which you might have to call in professional help (click here for a service provider that may be able to help you out).
Most candidates now use cell phones as their primary job search contact point. If you are relying on your home telephone, be sure your answering machine announcement message is professional and that you check it frequently. Having your kids record a cute answering announcement may thrill the relatives but not recruiters who work on a tight schedule. If you use cell phones, be sensitive to the fact that a dropped call in an interview is never helpful to your cause. The quality of the cell signal can be problematic by distorting your voice and perhaps even the meaning of your answer. Recently I have noticed this from callers using a nationwide provider in the Philadelphia, New York, upstate Connecticut and in metro areas of the West Coast. Use a land line whenever possible for telephone interviews.
Make sure you have a home warranty plan. When you work from home all of the issues that could happen in the office may happen to you in this environment, the difference is that it is now your job to sort the problem. If you get a home warranty arizona, texas, florida, etc. then you can make sure that a professional is called out straight away, for example, if the electricity, heating, or plumbing had any problems and it would also cost you less money too. This means that you can continue to work in a comfortable environment.