Today is April 22nd, 2014. I state this because although you might be reading this on the same day I post it, you might also discover this post later on in the year, or conceivably in another year to come. So it’s important to bear the date in mind as you read the post.
Job searching as anyone who has ever looked for a job will tell you, is about trying to maximize your job search odds, maximize your opportunities and get an edge on the competition. There are enough people competing for jobs out there right now, and the last thing you ideally want is a flood of new people to contend with. And that is why you need to get going now, or step it up a notch if you are already job searching.
Two population groups here in North America are eagerly looking at the calendar, and getting into the starters blocks in the race to get a job; high school students and senior citizens. The high school students are due out in late May or June while the Senior’s are crawling out from their winter doldrums and assured now that the snow and cold is pretty much behind them. Their already shining up their shoes and pressing their shirts and blouses.
While it is true that many positions are not ones that high school students and Seniors typically compete successfully for, there are a number of jobs that these two groups do compete for that you might be looking for yourself. Restaurant servers, kitchen prep, retail sales, cashier and road crew flag person come to mind immediately. And lest you think of Senior’s as old, feeble and needing afternoon naps to keep going, consider this: many people are retiring early, then after only a year or two out of the workforce are re-entering it well-rested, hungry and spry. Their skills are not ancient, and they may just have eclipsed 60 and still be quite in good health.
Oh I know that high school students may not have your experience. After all, they may be searching for their first job, and may or may not even be all that enthusiastic about giving up their summer to get one. But more and more, there are a number of young people who are maturing faster, look older, and some don’t want the job as much as they want the money it brings to either put away for higher education or to spend. Remember these young people come with no bad habits obtained in other places of employment. They are open and receptive to being trained, and have skills and experience with technology. Their brains are hard-wired to learn tech systems quickly.
And so you’ve got to get going. If you are looking for a position don’t put it off for another few weeks or a month, start now. Whether you are someone with extensive experience or you are re-entering the workforce as a middle-aged adult after raising your own children, seize the opportunity before you.
So what can you do to get going? Register with an agency hiring temporary workers, write or update your resume, contact people who would be willing to be a reference for you, tell everyone you know you are looking for work and tell them the kind of jobs you would consider on your list of most-desired jobs. Look at your wardrobe and see what it looks like. Do you have enough clothes for a couple of interviews with the same people and to start off in a job while you wait as long as 2-3 weeks for your first pay cheque?
The nicer weather that comes with Spring and Summer here in North America is a welcomed coming for everyone, but don’t fall prey to languishing in it just yet. Every day you spend doing anything other than looking for work is a day you give up to your competition. If your memory of what it took to get a job has you thinking all you need to do is walk in and announce your arrival, times have changed dramatically; wake up.
Getting a job isn’t as simple as the days you fanned your resume out one day and had an interview the next day. Employer’s have the upper hand because there are so many job hunters out there. And some of those employers are looking for the arrival of students into the market as cheaper labour at student minimum wage levels. That alone give students an edge over anyone older.
Even in situations where the work you are looking for is seasonal, such as lawn care maintenance, you’ll note that the big companies were getting customers to sign up for their services with discounted prices way back in February. So if you are planning on going door-to-door to do anything on people’s properties, it will be slim pickings. Even those companies that hire students to do their painting of homes have already been recruiting their employees. It’s later in the game than you think because companies and job seekers – the really forward-thinking ones, are a season ahead of the game.
But don’t despair! There’s still a window of opportunity here if you hustle NOW. Sell the assets you have such as your combination of experience and health. If you think Senior’s will scoff at any job where pressure is the name of the game and students won’t be as dependable as a more mature worker would be, use those liabilities as your strengths.