4 Ways Younger Job Seekers Can Step Up as Baby Boomers Retire

By: Val Matta

Baby boomers have always been defined by their sheer numbers. Even now, as they reach retirement age, 41 million baby boomers are still working according to a 2018 report from the Pew Research Center. This equals out to them still accounting for a quarter of the workforce.

As more and more retire, there will be opportunities for younger job seekers to step up and assume the baby boomers’ responsibilities. But first, you’re going to have to prove you’re ready to take the next step in your career.

By understanding what employers want, both at your current company or another one, you can present yourself in the best light. Here are some tips to landing a job previously held by a baby boomer and ensuring you can take ownership of a role without missing a step:

Advancing at Your Current Company

If your current organization is a great fit, you might want to make a move without leaving the team. For both you and the company this is a win-win situation. You get career advancement, and your company doesn’t lose a talented employee. Make the most of your situation by taking the following steps:

Find a mentor

Having a mentor is essential to young job seekers’ careers. Older employees who have been where you are will provide valuable advice to help you learn and make better decisions. Plus, as boomers retire, having one as a mentor will put you on their radar to recommend as a possible replacement.

But to get the right mentor you need to be proactive. It’s rare that an experienced employee will approach you with an opportunity. Start by making a list of people in your organization who you already have a relationship. To evaluate if they could be a good mentor, consider:

  • Their accomplishments and if they are something you aspire to
  • How their personality meshes with yours
  • If they will push you to grow and develop
  • How available they typically are
  • Their connections within the organization and outside of it

Once you have a list of potential mentors, invite your top choice for coffee and have a conversation about what you’re looking for. Explain what your career plan is and how you think they can help. The more specific you can be the better. It helps them understand exactly what they’d be providing you.

Ask what positions are opening soon

Employees don’t retire without notice. It takes planning and conversations with company managers and leaders, helping everyone prepare for the transition. However, while upcoming retirements aren’t secrets, you may not be told about coming opportunities.

Talk to your manager about your interest in moving up in the company. Don’t say ‘I want Janet’s job when she retires.’ Instead, explain you’re ready for a new challenge and ask for their feedback on what you can do to prepare and train.

If you’re not ready to take over the retiring baby boomer’s position, suggest ways you can take on some, but not all, of the responsibilities. This will help you expand your role without setting yourself up for failure.

Manager stock photo

Advancing at Another Company

Sometimes the right move for your career is changing companies and making a fresh start. You will still need to prove you have what it takes to fill a more advanced position, however, you’ll approach the situation differently than if you were already in-house.

Look for jobs the “old school” way

In recent years, companies have turned to social media to recruit younger talent. However, don’t forget companies still use traditional job boards to reach older job seekers — especially for non-entry level positions.

Don’t neglect the old school ways to find a new job opportunity. Consider adding the following to your job search:

  • In-person networking events
  • Niche job boards
  • Job fairs

Find out what skills the company is blindly missing

Hiring younger job seekers presents employers with a unique opportunity to fill a position while getting a new set of skills. However, when an employee has performed a job for a long time, the organization may not be aware of alternate skills and ways to grow the role. While baby boomers have experience, a trending concern for years has been that not all have the latest skills.

When you’re researching positions, identify the skills that might be useful yet are not in the job description. Look at as many job descriptions from the organization (even those not for your specific department), as well as comparable positions at other companies. Use that to identify any trends of skills the company could inadvertently not be looking for in their job description.

Then, when you’re writing cover letters, updating your resume, and in the interview process, showcase the experience you have as well as how these additional skills could improve the team and bring greater value to the company.

Team stock photo

Want to find out more ways to land a more advanced job? Check out this blog piece!

Blog originally posted to: https://careershift.com/blog/2019/04/4-ways-younger-job-seekers-can-step-up-as-baby-boomers-retire/

 

Advice from a Recruiter with Kyle Greenleaf from JLL

By: Ria Kalinowski

Assistant Director, Abbey Pober and I recently sat down with Kyle Greenleaf, a recruiter from JLL, to talk about their hiring processes. Kyle focuses on recruiting for industrial facilities management with a focus mainly on life science clients. JLL is a property consultancy company specializing in property services and investment management. In the past, they have posted both full and part-time positions on WITworks for students with degrees in Architecture, Business Management, and Construction Management.

Kyle looks at hundreds of resumes on a weekly basis. Customization of your resume is ESSENTIAL if you want to stand out.

What does he look for?

  • 50% prior relevant work experience
  • 50% what makes YOU unique

When recruiting for co-op or entry-level positions, Kyle understands that you probably won’t have much relevant work experience. He will definitely look at any prior co-ops and relevant academic projects, but soft skills are hugely important. He is looking for breadth of experience rather than depth of experience. Interpersonal, communication, and leadership skills are good to emphasize but it’s more important to know YOUR strengths and focus on those. Your experiences and your personality make you unique so don’t be afraid to highlight those aspects of yourself.

Huge positive flags for Kyle are volunteer experience and involvement in athletics. Unless your experience is additive or really exceptional, leave off musical instruments, drama involvement, and other outside interests.

 

What should students do to build their resume?

Kyle’s advice is to find ways to practice leadership skills: start a club, become a club president, volunteer for something new, etc. Every single day you should do one thing that terrifies you or pushes you out of your comfort zone.

Ways to do that at Wentworth include taking Leadership Institute, applying to become a student leader, attending Speakeasy (a public speaking practice forum that meets Mondays at noon in Accelerate), getting involved with Accelerate or EPIC, or joining or starting a club.

 

What if a student doesn’t have any experience?

For students with little or no experience Kyle advises them to “show up” to the CO-OP + CAREER Fair to get in front of hiring managers as a great starting point. Do research about the company to show your interest. Employers will inevitably ask, “what do you know about us?” or “what made you stop by our booth today?” and having a comprehensive answer will give you a great advantage. Start networking as soon as possible. Find someone in your major who is a senior and take them to lunch. Ask them what they regret not doing or are glad they took advantage of. Reach out to alumni to ask about their career choices and learn about possible career paths.

 

Kyle’s Quick Tips

  • Customize Your Application: Make sure your resume and cover letter show why you are a good fit for that particular position at that specific company.
  • You have 7 Seconds to make a good first impression: Smile, have a strong handshake, and practice your professional introduction.
  • Do Your Research: Whether you are writing a cover letter, heading to an interview, or attending a career fair, find out what the company does and determine why you are interested in them.
  • Write (Good!) Cover Letters: They are necessary to help sell your experience and how you fit the position. If 6 people apply and 5 people write a cover letter and you don’t, you aren’t getting the interview.
  • Reach out to Recruiters on LinkedIn: Send a connection request with this message, “I saw that JLL had an operations role posted and when I searched for recruiters at JLL, your name popped up. I’m not sure if you are specifically the right person to contact for this role, but I’d love to speak with you about it if you are. If you aren’t the right person, perhaps you could you point me in the right direction.”

 

Most Important Take Away

Kyle wants to remind all applicants to be passionate about the company and the position and show that passion! This is something I’ve heard from so many recruiters and hiring managers. The best employees understand the company’s mission and goals and have a strong passion for them. Recruiters don’t want to hire someone who wants A job, they want to hire someone who wants the SPECIFIC job they are hiring for. Contact your Co-op + Career Advisor for help with writing your cover letter and customizing answers to interview questions to show your passion.

 

To hear the entire conversation, check out the WITworks Radio Show here.

 

To make an appointment with your Co-op + Career Advisor call the front desk at 617 989 4101 or stop by during Spring 2019 Drop-In Hours: Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday 1:30pm – 4:00pm while classes are in session.