Let's talk about networking over 50
A vital part of your job search is not only doing your due diligence, but to fully understand the importance and value networking. If you're networking over 50, the traditional networking of going to professional meetings and handing out business cards won't be enough. Experience is a good teacher, but older job seekers may not realize all they have learned over the years.
We all hate junk mail (the paper kind that the US Postal Service delivers to our homes), so for this exercise, pretend that are a that piece of junk mail. Personally, I view anything unsolicited that I didn't ask for as being unwanted junk mail.
Anyway, the same thing generally applies to email. We all get a lot of spam these days. Even when you don't ask to be taken off their list and inadvertently confirm your address, they just keep appearing. Today, cookies (no not the kind you eat) are placed on your computer, tablet, smartphone etc. and track what your searching, and pop-up in the Google ad boxes (big brother for real)...that's target marketing.
Some devices may even be listening. Why just the other day I was talking to my wife about a particular car, and the next thing I know is that a picture of that car is appearing in the Google AdSense ad boxes -- scary!
Now if only I got more offers for things I could actually use, or offers for stuff that REALLY was free. Now, that I wouldn't consider to be junk mail or spam. (Fine, this probably won't happen in my lifetime).
The problem is people with whom we really don't want to have an exchange of communication are approaching us all, and, more and more often. It has in a very real sense become easier and easier to communicate. Therefore the perceived value of each communication has declined.
This is the fact of life that all of us need to keep in mind
as we are out and about networking. The last thing we want to be doing is
trying to communication with individuals who don't want to hear from us. When
we do this we are further diminishing the possibility that those we are
contacting will consider us junk mail. And, if we take this to a "what is
best for the community" perspective, we may in fact be ruining it for
The task of building a strong network of contacts is NEVER easy. The
reason is that you just never know who can help. Still, the burden is on you
the initiator of the process to at least TRY to be selective.
To understand the importance of FACE TIME -- click here to learn more
When networking over 50 you must be clear about what type of job or company you're networking for, says Keith Ferrazzi, author of Never Eat Alone and Other Secrets to Success, One Relationship at a Time. Younger applicants are generally broader in scope. However, "the more ambiguous you are, the tougher it is," Ferrazzi says. "Older folks should have a clear understanding of their sweet spot -- where they'd be good and why. When you're over 50, you've got credibility. Give clarity to the experience that's behind your focus."
"Ask anyone who cares about you," Ferrazzi adds.
"You never know who'll play golf tomorrow with the person you talk to
today. You don't know who your dentist knows or who your brother-in-law knows
at work." These people have "a higher level of confidence
recommending someone over 50 than someone who's stretching for a job," he
says. Besides, they have more contacts than younger people.
When networking over 50 us older folk tend to be more reserved when asking about
potential contacts or jobs. "Get over it," Ferrazzi says. "Act
like a young person." But, notes Daniel J. Kadlec, author of The Power
Years: A User's Guide to the Rest of Your Life, "never appear desperate.
You want people to recognize your accomplishments and professionalism before
they recognize you're job hunting. Of course, you're not; you're simply open to
Ferrazzi encourages more than reaching out to younger people
-- ask them to mentor you. Jack Welch, former chairman and CEO of General
Electric, had a 25-year-old mentor and assigned 20-something mentors to his top
executives. "Don't be embarrassed to ask how the world works today,"
says Ferrazzi. In return, you can mentor your mentors by offering your own
So is the Business Network International, which bills itself
as "the world's largest referral organization" and includes regional
chapters and vast databases. In addition, the AARP has business and social
Your personal network connections can provide a goldmine of career opportunities, and having such a long career, your at an advantage over younger job seekers.
Use that to your advantage...being over 50 puts us at a disadvantage, that is, until you put the skills you learn from me to work for you. Then you'll be able to turn the table to your favor.
For those learning to networking over 50, realize that your during long career you have been building many professional network connections...getting hired through your extensive professional contacts is one of the best ways to get a new job. Employers love referrals because the applicant will have insight into the company before they apply, and many companies have referral programs to encourage employees to recommend candidates, plus it will save a company thousands of dollars of recruitment costs.
This site's success will hinge on me helping you solve problems. For those of us over 50, we face more challenges than others younger than us when competing for jobs and getting doors to open.
I invite you all to share your stories of challenge and successes. We all can learn from those who have faced the same challenges. The idea here is to help and be helped - so please add your comment or insight!
Thank you for your contribution.