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Are You Paralyzed?

The sudden shock of older job loss can be immobilizing

➔ The shock of losing one’s job – quite possibly a job you’ve held for 10 or 20, or more years – can be devastating. And understandably so.

Even for those individuals who claim that they saw the writing on the wall and knew “their day” was coming, it’s still a like a hard slap in the face.

Now what?

Once the initial shock wears off and you face the reality that, for the first time in years (or decades), you need to hit the pavement, you begin to realize what you’re up against. Despite economic conditions, the job market today is very different from the last time you were out there.

You need a new resume. You need a cover letter. You need references. You’re suddenly faced with ATS (automated tracking systems) job applications. You learn that you absolutely have to have a LinkedIn profile. (Congratulations if you’re familiar with LinkedIn. Can you imagine what it must be like for someone who knows nothing more than just the name?)

When you face all that reality at once… POW! It’s easy to understand how many older job seekers can become paralyzed.

But what to do? How do you discard the shackles of the older worker’s 21st Century job search? The simple answer is: it’s not easy. But do it, you must.

Start with one of your strengths. You’ve been around a while. You know people. Reach out to them. From them you can begin to learn what the job market is like – in your community, in your industry.

Join a jobs group. There you will find many people who share your circumstances. You’ll make new contacts. You’ll learn more about all the things mentioned above. Check your local library and/or community college for sessions on LinkedIn, resume writing, navigating the ATS, upgrading your skills, etc.

Do as many of these things as possible and you’ll learn and learn a lot. You’ll also get more comfortable with your situation and learn that you’re not alone. Getting out and about may get you into a routine on which you can expand as you go.

No one is saying that it is, or will be easy. That should not be surprising. But, most important, you need to move off the center square. And, even though you won’t collect $200, you need to pass “Go” and start on your next trip around the game board.


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