Many Boomers are reeling from lay­offs, plant closings, and long periods of unemployment that accompanied the economic downturn. As the economy settles into a new normal, however, Boomers are finding jobs and collectively breathing a sigh of relief. Anyone who has endured a job search at 50+ will confirm that it is not an experience they want to repeat. The following four steps will help Boomers avoid the next round of job cuts or at least shorten the job search after a mass lay-off or plant closing.

Strive for Excellence: To stay employed, it is important to be perceived as a valuable contributing member of your firm. That means meeting deadlines; exceeding performance goals and helping the organization remain profitable. Performance is not the only reason people are chosen in a reduction in force; however, it is more difficult to justify downsizing star performers.

Continue to Network: Remember all of the interesting people you met while job­ hunting? Networking is an important component of a job search at 50+. Even though it is difficult while working full-time, staying connected could help you find a higher paying job or learn about new opportunities before they are advertised. Send an occasional e-mail or call to those you met during your search. It will keep you top of mind with that connector. Maintain your Linkedln profile and update it with your new position.

Update your Skills: Training budgets at many organizations have been slashed. Keeping your skills current, learning new software programs, going to professional conferences and becoming certified in your field are increasingly becoming Do-It-Yourself (DIY) projects. To manage the cost, look for low-cost software training through public libraries, online courses can help you maintain continuing education credits and you can often buy recordings of workshops from professional conferences. Ivy Tech Community College offers inexpensive courses to help you make a career change or strengthen your skill set even if you already have a degree.

Develop Emotional Intelligence: Knowing the technical aspects of your profession may get you a job; however, building a successful career over time requires something more. The idea of emotional intelligence was widely introduced to the workforce in 1995 when Daniel Goleman’s book of the same name was published and became a bestseller. He defined it as “managing feelings so that they are expressed appropriately and effectively, enabling people to work together smoothly toward their common goals.” It makes you the person others want on their work team.
In 2006 Merrill Lynch released its groundbreaking work, “The New Retirement Survey”, and challenged traditional ideas about work concluding that, “Baby boomers fundamentally will reinvent retirement.” Six years later, whether it is by choice or financial necessity, more 50+ people are remaining employed and companies that value the work and talent of mature workers are the winners.

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