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Public Relations in Job Search at Over 50!

Posted Oct 01 2008 10:42pm

We have both Employers and Jobseekers who visit Gen Plus and our blog. Today, after an interesting conversation with a charismatic jobseeker, I pondered (for those of you familiar with me, you know I like to ponder!) the relationship between these two entities:

  • those of you who come to us because you are hoping to find employers interested in and willing to hire you if you are older than fifty...;
  • and employers who are feeling the crunch of open positions and not enough qualified candidates to fill important shoes.
So what exactly is the relationship?

I always tend to think of things in advertising and/or sales terms. In this case, I'll use the concept of "paid advertising" versus "public relations".

Paid advertising is a medium where a business pays money to have an ad in some form (print, radio, TV, internet, direct mail, etc.) that promotes the company ( pushes out the product ) from its point of view and throws it at consumers. "My great company provides this incredible service or product that you, the consumer will just die without."

Public relations (PR) is a format that provides information to media outlets, again, from the company, but to be used for content by the media outlets as their own material. They will either publish a press release in its entirety, or will contact the company to flesh out the information to fit in with the editorial content of the medium. PR is intended to pull the consumer to the product through the credibility that is attached to a published article, feature or newsclip.

For e.g., this release:

" Green Place, a "cutting-edge" landscaping company announces a revolutionary new way to mow a lawn. Our goat-trimmers provide the latest in gardening technology...."

may fit in perfectly with "Home and Gardens" upcoming issue focusing on gardening technology. Anyone reading the article will be prompted ( pulled ) to find out more about Green Place and their goat-trimmers!

So what does this have to do with finding a job when you are over 50?

Think of the open position as the consumer or client. A company has a need to fill the position and they broadcast their opening to the world in any way they can, given their budget constraints.

Well, your resume and cover letter are like advertising. You are highlighting ( pushing) your qualifications, defining your personal brand through your resume and carrying it through to a phone call and ultimately to a job interview. That is why it is so important to have a focused, top-notch resume and cover letter.

The recruiter's message, on behalf of the employer, is like PR. They can broadcast, or they can target their message to a market segment. If an employer is strapped for higher level positions, experienced workers, or let's even say a worker with good ethics who will show up every day for work...then they perceive a need for you, the 50 plus jobseeker and search for access to that market. So when they use the services of a company like Gen Plus, they are reaching out their need to you, the jobseeker. And their search will hopefully entice ( pull) you to apply to their position. (Think of how Home Depot has repositioned themselves as 50 Plus employers, for e.g.)

The challenge that 50 plus is facing right now is that you are doing a great job advertising yourselves. You are boldly posting your resumes on Gen Plus and on every job board you can find that fits in with your target jobs. You may send out 50, 100 or 400 (not uncommon, by the way, for anyone over 50) resumes to employers before you get a call. But by continuing to actively advertise yourself, you will get a call, eventually.

Recruiters and employers are sensing that they have a crisis with finding qualified employees (more on this in the next article), but other than a few hundred savvy employers, most have not yet actively identified that 50 plus is the way to go so they tend to rely more on broadcasting than niche focusing. However, the near-future is very rosy. More and more, we are seeing businesses tap into this market. It is coming, but it will still take a lot of elbow grease on our part (we are VERY commited to your successes!) and on yours to bring the right awareness to the value of 50 plus.
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