Management Over 40: Pro Active vs Reactive Job Hunting

One of the hardest things for a manager to do is to job hunt after a decade on a single job, or working a couple related jobs. This manager has often stagnated. They are comfortable in their current position. They are satisfied.

Now, the manager is in transition. They want to vamp up their career and take it to the next level.


Before talking to a recruitment firm let’s first review your job-hunting motivation. If you have just lost a job, or you recently had a life change, like a divorce, then you are in a ‘catch up’ scenario. You are not ready. You are not prepared. It will be difficult for a recruiter to find you a new job.

Your motivation needs to be solid. You need a good foundation and attitude, or you will have a hard time standing out in the crowd. Desperate people do not ‘stand out’ as good management candidates.

All of this is common sense for most managers. If so, then this article isn’t for you. It is time to contact a recruitment firm. But before you dismiss this article let me ask a question.

Write down on a piece of paper your motives, strategy, and goals. If you cannot do that then I suggest you keep reading.

You are a problem-solver, and problem-solvers get paid. Don’t focus on what you don’t have – a job. Emphasize what you have — a skill set, problem solving skills, solid experience, valuable skills and the energy and wisdom to help solve a company’s problems. Don’t start a job search feeling you are begging for a job. Keep your attitude positive.

Pro Active Job Hunting

If your job hunting isn’t proactive then you do not have a strategy. When I’m working with management candidates I like to see someone who has invested their time and money into building career capital. A perfect candidate in my mind would have been investing in career capital for 2 years.

Recruiters are not going to find a job for you while you are sitting at home, or on vacation. Employers are not going to come looking for you. You need to take control of your own job hunting.

The first step is to create a strategy. Ideally you will start your strategy about two years before you need a new job. The first step will be to find a mentor, upgrade your education, upgrade your knowledge of software, volunteer a bit, upgrade your human resources skills, and to build your online profile.

Reactive Job Hunting

If you start a job-hunting program within six months of needing a job, or when you need to strategize. Unless you are taking off 1 – 2 years to go to university, then you have little or no time to upgrade your skills.

There are a few things you need to do quickly, if you haven’t already done them:

1. Join the industry associations. If they have a conference, then attend. If they have certifications, then take the time to earn a certification.

2. Build your linkedIn account. Take the time needed to build a presence. Publish articles, and network. Never underestimate the value of an active LinkedIn account.

3. Do not let time laps. Blank gaps on your resume can cause serious damage to your career. If you cannot make it look like you took time off to educate yourself then volunteer with local organizations.

Working With Recruiters

There is a misunderstanding of a recruiter or a headhunter’s job. It isn’t to pound the pavement for you. They can only market you if you have taken the time to make yourself marketable.

The first step is to define exactly what job you want. Never go to a recruitment firm without having a clearly defined outline of the type of job you want. You may need to work with them and sharpen your resume and cover page. You may need to refocus your career goals. But if you show that you are willing to do the work then your recruiter will be more willing to work with you.

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