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.
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.
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.