By Liz Nolan, Contributing Writer
Northborough – The Northborough Library has been offering its free Job Seekers Program since July. The program offers a networking and information platform for those looking for employment. Virtual sessions have included a presentation from an expert, who shares tips on a successful job search, as well as the opportunity for attendees to ask questions and connect with one another. Ongoing services and resources, including proofreading resumes and cover letters, and printing of job related documents are also offered.
On Nov. 16, Randall Warniers presented “Make Age Invisible” and offered key points for the more mature job seeker to keep in mind. He is a communications and design consultant.
During the pandemic, many companies have closed or have had to layoff or furlough employees. This has resulted in people searching for a new job, when they might have thought they were in a job until retirement.
Warniers explored some typical assumptions that employers may have about older applicants, such as a lack of energy, out of date skills set, and the expectation of a high salary.
He said it’s more old behavior that can negatively impact the hiring process rather than age discrimination.
To help with making age more invisible, he suggests communicating enthusiasm and energy; speaking clearly; embracing technology changes, products and development; and making sure what you wear is your best representation.
Warniers advised learning the new tools of a modern workplace, such as shared apps and cloud services. Many online certification courses are available, or even a YouTube how to video can be helpful.
It is also important to expand your network and know how to have a purposeful conversation. Participating in groups, such as the Job Seekers Program, and social media platforms, like LinkedIn, are all positive engagements and part of the process. The more often you practice networking, the better you get at it.
“Quality connections are more important than the number of connections,” Warniers said. “Find pathways to take you to where you want to be. If you do nothing, the answer is always no.”
Many employers do look at social media accounts as part of the hiring process, so he advised to take the time to keep it updated, use a professional photo and look like a CEO.
While out of work, use the downtime to fulfill a significant personal project.
“A hiring manager will get to see another dimension of what you are like,” Warniers said.
He made the analogy between a performer and a job seeker.
“In reality, you are auditioning for the role you want to play,” he said. “What does it take to get the part? Think of yourself as an effective solution to an employer’s problem.”
He also warned to never joke or apologize about being older.
“Own your wisdom and accomplishments,” Warniers said. “Be the person you know you can be.”
Library Reference & Adult Services Assistant Eric Wang said the groups have been on the smaller side, but the feedback received from participants has been positive as they are learning something new from the guest speaker.
The next session will be scheduled in December and some proposed topics include strategies for sustaining morale during a job search, detailed LinkedIn guidance and personal branding.