Embrace social media. Job searching can be very isolating. To combat that feeling of being alone and to connect with new people who can often help you get hired it's essential to tap into the power of online social networking sites. The best way for learning and development specialist Jennifer Turner to shake the depression and snap out of her funk caused by a pink slip was to become active online. LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter were foreign to her at first, but all offer simple tutorials on how to get started. These are the ideal forums to meet new people, connect with old colleagues, learn about job openings, share articles and ideas with like-minded people in your field, and more. A referral from someone you meet online is often the difference of landing the interview—or the position.
Sometimes it's ok to focus on the place, not the position.
For some workers, location is everything. For others, the benefits at one employer matter most. If this sounds like you, focus less on getting your dream job, and study the openings that are relevant to your skills and experience. Don't apply to every job at the company; be selective where you think you have the best shot.
Always do your best even if you believe the position is below your skill level. After being a stay-at-home mom for 10 years, Caterina Ramsey got her foot in the door as a part-time cafeteria monitor—a far cry from the job in a school's front office that she really wanted. But it was a chance to be where she wanted to be and offered her the opportunity to prove her worth and ability, which caught the eye of a decision maker who opted to promote her to the position she was best suited for as an administrative assistant. Demonstrating a strong work ethic and dedication can get you where you want to be.
Finally, go for it.
So many people over 50 who've lost their jobs tell me they feel old and slow—or they worry about being perceived that way by younger colleagues. Those concerns can inhibit anyone who's looking for work. You have to believe in yourself—and be convinced that you have great value to offer an employer—before you can convince someone else to believe in you.
One California woman, Jan Alpert, lost her job in real estate and contemplated returning to school for fresh training, but she worried about how she'd fare with students half her age. Then came her first assignment – and as she wrote it, she realized she had so many life experiences to draw from, and she aced it. But she almost allowed the self-doubt to keep her from enrolling. Now she's got a thriving business (24hourangels.com) where she's making nearly the same money as in her former job lost at the start of the recession. Nobody can fire her, and she's in a position to hire other people. Pure satisfaction!
Tory Johnson is the workplace contributor on ABC's "Good Morning America" and the CEO of Women For Hire. She recently launched a national network of local job clubs called WaggleForce.com. Connect with her on Twitter.com/ToryJohnson.