Career Advice Career Guidance and Counselling

Get flex, Gen X

In the last six months, I’ve encountered roughly two unemployed Generation X executives every month who wanted to take a break from a long tenure with the same company because they did not share the strategic vision of new management. Overall, these executives were eager to make a change, but were having trouble finding new jobs.

With extensive experience, it shouldn’t be difficult for Gen Xers  – born between 1965 and 1980 – to secure a senior position. So why were they having so much trouble?

The current job market is highly competitive, and employers who are recruiting typically look for a perfect match. In addition, companies currently tend to look for younger “high-potentials” rather than solid candidates with extensive experience in one company. And while the world is going digital, so are job opportunities. Some roles now in demand did not exist 10 to 15 years ago.

As the market changes, jobseekers need to change their mindset. I’ve heard Gen X candidates telling me they’ve never needed to look for a job, as they were surrounded by opportunities until recently. To meet the new market, these professionals need to approach it differently than before.

If you’re a Gen X jobseeker, you need to be proactive and open-minded when searching for new opportunities. During a market downturn, available opportunities may no longer be as ideal as expected. Identify your top priorities and keep these in mind when evaluating your options.

Join any committee, chamber or networking events that relate to your industrial or functional expertise. Reconnect with your ex-colleagues, family and friends; you will be surprised where this could lead.

Once you’ve met a prospective employer or industry contact, follow up. Send a simple, yet concise, follow-up note to reiterate your range of skills and experience. Most importantly, make sure you stay positive.

This article appeared in the Classified Post print edition as Get flex, Gen X.