Lately, as I work with clients older than 50 who are trying to find jobs or change careers, I've noticed something surprising. Few have a real grasp on who they are. Most exhibit what I call "self-knowledge deficiency." And this is undermining their ability to find a job. • Knowing yourself takes work, and who we are shifts through life. Skills, dreams, goals, and desires constantly morph and change. So, before you jump into a job search, remember the important question is, "Who are you now?" • Here is an acronym that will help you begin: OSRCA.
O is for opportunity: The fact that you are currently unemployed is an opportunity. Freedom! You now have some time to clear your head, get much-needed rest, lick your wounds if you have been fired or downsized, and take a good hard look at your finances. Once you've done all that, you can take logical and strategic steps to find your next career. Painful? It can be. Useful? Most certainly, and it's the only way to "begin at the beginning" of the rest of your life.
S is for self-assessment: What do you want out of the rest of your life? What do you enjoy doing that will give you a paycheck? How big a paycheck do you really need? How much longer do you want to or do you have to work? Be honest with yourself and take the time to answer these questions.
R is for reality: Do your skills and certifications match the job opportunities in your location? Do you need more training? Should you go back to school or should you move? Answering these questions will take time, honest evaluation and some research.
C is for counseling: Talking to someone who helps people like you can be a godsend. A good counselor will help you decide what's important to you, what makes your heart "sing," and help you assess your skills, education, credentials, monetary needs and family situation. You'll also get resume advice and help in creating an online presence.
A for action: Once you've worked through O to C, it's time to take action. Now you can take everything you've learned about yourself and begin a focused job search.
Marie R. Stempinski is president and founder of Strategic Communication in St. Petersburg. She specializes in public relations, marketing, business development and counseling people over 50 who are looking for "encore" careers.