Planning and Goal Setting
~ by Steve Throckmorton
The adage “People don’t plan to fail, they fail to plan” is perhaps a little worn but certainly applies to the 50+ job seeker. The last chapter discussed how you should play to your strengths and not simply do things the way you’ve always done them. Now it is time to transition from the general high level concepts that you learned in the previous chapter to a specific plan of action. Here are a few ideas on how to do this.
- While keeping in mind the thoughts discussed in “Chapter 2 – Leverage Your Niche” sit down at your desk with a pencil and empty notebook then brainstorm specific ideas for an action plan. Write down every idea that comes to your mind. Nothing should be eliminated at this stage, regardless of how complicated or silly sounding. Come up with at least 10 ideas before you get up from the table and the more the better.
- Call a trusted friend who is a creative thinker or a fifty something friend who recently landed a job. Go over your list with your friend. Ask for additional ideas to add to your list by brainstorming together.
- Sort the final list into two categories, one being discreet one-time only tasks and the other ongoing tasks. Finally prioritize both lists by placing the ideas that will yield the highest return for time invested at the top of the two lists. This will become the rough draft of your plan.
Now it is time to review your plan. Make sure it includes ideas on how to most effectively reach your network. If you wrote ideas only on how to search and place blind job submissions then go back and rework your list to include networking ideas. This is too important to neglect. If necessary get back together with your brainstorming buddy and focus specifically on ways to reach your personal network.
Does your list effectively target positions that play to your background and experience? The last chapter mentioned that when looking for a job, especially when unemployed this is not the time to reinvent yourself. If any of the ideas on your list include a radical vocation change that is unrelated to past experience then move those ideas to the bottom of the list. Focus on actions that leverage your experience.
Did your plan include education and certification? If you worked in a highly technical field like Information Technology and you have not updated your skills in recent years then you will almost certainly need to refresh your skills. This is not the same as reinventing yourself as you would to transition into an entirely different occupation. This is a refresh to bring your skills up to date within the field you were previously employed. Ask others whom you trust and respect to get advice on certifications and classes that are in greatest demand and closely related to your past experience.
Now that you have completed, prioritized and refined your action plan it is time to act on your plan. Nothing happens until you take action.
The next post takes a turn toward the entrepreneurial. Consider the possibility that your best bet may be creating your job, not finding it.