A Strong Personal Brand Has No Age Limit
But Over-50 Equals The Danger Zone If Your Personal Brand Is Weak. The AARP Public Policy Institute published this recent Fact Sheet: The Employment Situation, March 2012: Unemployment Rises for Older Workers. The concluding findings are sobering for people age 55 years to older.
- The unemployment rate for the aged 55 and over workforce rose from 5.9% to 6.2%
- More than half of workers aged 55 and have been looking for work at least a year
- The long term unemployed are at risk of skills erosion (which decreases the probability of finding work)
Table 3 of the Fact Sheet highlights important statistics for both and average duration of unemployment and the long term unemployed for the 55+ and older group:
Older Unemployed Workers Must Overcome Multiple Hiring Perceptions
This Phenemenon Has Been Increasing Since 2005. I still have the original May 2005 Fortune Magazine issue to this article: 50 and Fired. The article states how over-50 unemployed workers battle these common hiring objections, perceptions, and responses when searching for jobs:
- Out-of-touch with today's technology
- Too expensive to hire (a pheneomenon referred to as tenured compensation)
- Unable to work for or work with team members half their age (e.g., less flexible)
- Over-qualified (which is code for you're over-50)
- Younger workers are less expensive
Unemployed Status = Uphill Battle. For whatever reason, companies favor "passive employment candidates" (e.g., currently employed workers who may not be actively looking for a new job). For older, unemployed workers, it's as if hiring companies deliberately promote a "no unemployed need apply" rule.
Invest in Your Personal Brand WHILE YOU'RE EMPLOYED
The Rise of The Temporary Gig Economy. But, it's not all gloom and doom. There's an emerging trend to hire older, over-50 workers (particularly in the white collar executive segment). The Huffington Post published an article titled, Patina: Experience Trumps Youth in This Economy. This Wisconsin-based placement firm specializes in placing older experience executives in temporary global assignments. Patina Solutions recognized an unmet need and opportunity for older executives:
- Baby Boomers might approach retirement differently - they prefer to keep working but not necessarily in a part-time job
- Older experienced executives are a senior management asset when it comese to overseeing projects
- These executives have no desire to be tied down to one company (though many of their clients lost their jobs do to the ongoing recession)
- Established firms are moving to on-demand employment models (which allows them to forgo paying health care benefits and vacation packages)
Read These Forbes Magazine Articles By Josh Bersin On Employment Trends. I follow Mr. Bersin because he identifies important patterns in 21st century career management. After reading these articles, it doesn't take a rocket scientist to understand how The Temporary Gig Economy will become the norm versus the exception:
- (Forbes) The End of Job As We Know It
- (Forbes) LinkedIn is Disrupting the Corporate Recruiting Market
- (Forbes) How Big Data Tools Helps HR Understand You
Start Differentiating Yourself (Especially Online). This means competitive differentiation is vital for older executives. The competition for these temporary assignments will increase.
Make It Easy For Company Recruiters and Executive Headhunters to Find You. The Internet is your friend. Whether you like it or not, older workers have to deal with extra baggage in a job search. The key is understanding what you're up against (and a course of action).
- Emphasizing you passions
- Showing your tech savvy
- Networking across generations
Building a Personal Brand Involves a Significant Time Investment. I'm entering my third year in blogging. I love writing (which is why I do it for free). And, my passion for writing and sharing is yielding returns in important professional and personal opportunities.
The Paradox of Digital Media Is It's Slow (Not Fast). The results don't happen overnight. Despite a real-time Internet, digital content is an asset that becomes more valuable over time because:
- Search engines will index it
- Social media sites will share it and spread it
- Other websites (including social media networks) will link to it -- which increases your Google Authority
Start building your personal brand NOW.