“You need to be on social media.”

“Candidates must have a solid understanding of digital and social media.”

Keep hearing the same thing?

Baby Boomers, particularly, were raised and educated in a time when job security was a given. Companies hired for life, and when you reached retirement you were given a decent pension, a gold clock and a fond farewell.  And while Canada’s unemployment rate (for workers not considered ‘youth’) hovers around 7%, changes in skill set demands are worrying many Boomers considering their next career move.

How can boomers prepare for the changing demand in skill set?

Firstly, boomers must try to rid themselves of the mindset that a company; your company; any company will look after you, and start creating opportunities on their own. Okay, easier said than done, granted. However, the tools to do this already exist, if you are reading this you have them;  The internet and your knowledge.

Branding is not the exclusive right of marketing gurus and motivational speakers.  LinkedIn, the platform you are reading this on, is over 12 years old, and is so much more than a static resume.  It’s the perfect social network to start building a reputation and focus on your own personal brand.  A recent survey concluded that 93% of recruiters are now using social media instead of (or as well as) the more traditional means of hiring, such as job boards, newspaper ads, and yes, even applications. A small but growing number of companies don’t even accept applications anymore because it’s easier to look online and hand-pick their prospective employees.   This shift toward ‘social recruitment’ can be alarming to anyone who hasn’t given a thought to what exists about them online, or who thought that having nothing online was a good strategy.

It used to be that if a potential employer Googled you and couldn’t find anything about you, that was a good thing.  In 2015, if they can’t find anything about you online, they don’t trust your expertise or your credibility as a professional.

Without a story – you are an endangered species 

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Your work doesn’t speak for itself anymore.  What matters is how well you can speak for yourself, and even more importantly….what others perceive to be your value to your industry.

How do you do that?  Start by making a better LinkedIn profile. If you don’t know how, learn.  There are plenty of resources online, plenty of books in the library and on Amazon, and of course consultants like me that can help you too.   Get involved in LinkedIn groups and create an awareness of your skills and experience by helping others, answering questions, sharing resources, and being a valued member of your professional community online.

Putting yourself in the hands of a recruiter, or a job board—is a dying method of finding a job. Nowadays, recruiters are working through LinkedIn with some of the most sophisticated search and analytics tools available. They’re also involved in the same groups you’re involved in; they’re connected to your connections, and they want to find someone like you. But they’ll never have that chance unless you put yourself in their path and show them how valuable and respected you are in your own network.

What’s stopping you, your boomer colleagues are already getting on board, join them!

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