Reinventing the wheel
I told Liz that it wasn’t necessary to reinvent the wheel when it came to resume writing. There are so many examples online. You can even type in “How To Write a Winning Resume” and dozens of examples with advice pop up.
The most important detail for Liz to remember was that if she was going to visit aged care facilities and hotels and restaurants that she needed to leave behind resumes that include any relevant work or volunteering.
Liz’s homework was to write her resume, ready for our next meeting. Meanwhile, I asked her if she had made any appointments. She hadn’t at this stage so I suggested that making appointments would hasten her progress regarding her resume writing and making those decisions regarding her next position and earning the money she needed.
We also discussed what she would be wearing to these non-interviews as presentation was probably more important for ‘front-of-house’ than aged care where ‘neat and tidy’ would have been acceptable.
Liz left our meeting full of resolve and had started thinking about her new position as being a career move as opposed just something to bring in some extra money. Where originally, she was thinking if part time work to supplement her meagre savings she was now looking forward to full time work. I suggested to Liz to keep an open mind until she had her ‘non interviews’. I also discussed with her the probability that restaurateurs or hospitality personnel were usually busy people so not to expect that everybody she would be targeting would have time to see her. Fortunately Liz is reasonably pragmatic!
Next week Liz visits prospective employers and we analyse the feedback.
If you missed the first parts of Liz's journey in my Life Strategy series, you can go back an have a read!
I suggested she do some research about what those jobs entailed and gain a fuller perspective of the industry by talking to owners/managers of restaurants, cafes and bars and also to aged care facility HR. She needed to find out what jobs not only existed but were available in those two industries, what training was needed for whatever Liz thought she would be suited to, what the wages and conditions were...in fact a total reality check. She found out for example that in our area, restaurants and cafes were looking for good reliable conscientious allrounders who could wait on tables, take bookings, payments, serve wine and even make coffee. Very rarely could they afford to have just one person out front. Normally they would be required to also take orders for food and wine and whatever else needed to be done. Aged care needed nurses, nurses, nurses...often people to do the ‘heavy lifting’. I thought it would be best to hear it from people in the industry.
It was important for her to have an open mind and if she wanted to work locally she might have to make a few compromises.
Visiting prospective employers is also a good way of both researching and networking, showing you have initiative and drive and is the one approach that is the least exploited. I also suggested that if she still wanted to work in either one of these industries she should stay in touch with the people she had contacted and let them know if she was going to undertake relevant training.
Research is powerful as it helps jobseekers operate from a firm footing, however, if it means spending hours and hours online as an excuse to not actually apply for a position or go for interviews then you need talk to somebody about your reluctance. Lack of confidence, fear of failure? You need to be able to talk to somebody to hear you out and keep you motivated and to know when to give you that gentle but firm push.
After each meeting with Liz we always agreed on an activity sheet with appropriate timelines. As she would say....’it keeps me honest’! The last item on Liz’s activity sheet was to research resume writing online. I explained that it is often wise upon meeting or interviewing what could be a prospective employer to leave an updated resume behind for future reference.
A further thought is that offering to volunteer in an organisation can lead to paid work.
However you need to have firm boundaries to avoid exploitation and be upfront about your intentions of wanting a paid job in a certain time frame.
Next week...how to write a winning resume.
What are your biggest issues when looking for work or writing a resume? Feel free to start up a conversation on my Facebook page or email me to find out more about my coaching.
Being valuable and valued
Continuing on Liz's journey in the Life Strategies series...
I could tell that Liz needed a huge dose of motivation if she was to succeed. She needed to feel she was capable, competent and that her work experience was valuable AND valued.
I asked her about her work history, what she liked and didn’t about her past positions. And I took notes! It was obvious that she didn’t mind working in a team as long as she had a certain amount of autonomy. I knew that Liz had a great phone manner and generally loved assisting people. Her computer skills needed updating (TAFE!) but for a role in customer service she would have been perfectly cast. If looking for a receptionist She would probably need a ‘refresh’ to look the best version of herself. I offered to help with that as I had done for others in many of my previous roles in recruitment and personal development.
During our ‘coaching‘ session I made a point of ‘accentuating the positive’ as the song goes in order to help build her confidence. I’m a great believer in giving people honest feedback in a positive way....not something that too many of us experience at times!
We next looked at local ‘Positions Vacant’ ads as Liz said that it would be easier and cheaper re travel for her to work locally. The ads were few and far between and some needed deciphering with regard to what the prospective employer really wanted. Some she clearly wasn’t to and others weren’t of interest. I also asked her not to dismiss some ads out of hand because of her lack of confidence.
Next week, Liz selects which jobs to apply for and we discuss rewriting her resume.
Finding work when you are 50+
After my friend Liz mentioned she needed to find a P/T job, I asked her if she just wanted a ‘job’ or work at something she actually enjoyed? Like many third agers who need to bolster their income, she didn’t realise that it was an option.
Like many of us she left school with absolutely no idea of what to do, what was on offer, what job titles meant...even what she could be suited to. Interviews with vocational guidance counsellors seemed to be unsatisfying and the range of employment fairly limited. Her parents took it upon themselves to enrol her in secretarial college , often the ‘fix it’ solution as they, too, were unaware of options as they had followed what their parents had suggested a generation earlier.
Liz loathed secretarial college but persevered, thinking that the world would always need her shorthand/typing skills. I have heard this story many times before from other women and have even experienced it myself.
I told Liz to forget the past and concentrate on her future. Together we looked at her current skills, personal attributes and what employment she thought she would be suited to. She said she liked helping people ie advising them but felt negative about her prospects, saying that her age was against her, jobs were more complicated these days and younger people would surely be preferred. I countered by saying that she had years of valuable experience and asked to see her resume. It needed some serious updating and certainly didn’t do her any favours. It read like a shopping list and didn’t highlight any of her people skills or other positive characteristics. In other words
it was a marketing disaster!
Next week: Liz and I work on her motivation and aspirations. We talk about the NOW of WOW (world of work) i.e. demystify roles, find some for her to apply for and discuss THAT resume!