While it can sound like a non-stop party at the Department of Labor — complete with breathless reporting on how the unemployment rate is at its lowest since the dot-com boom of early 2000 — for many of us it feels as if our invitation must have been lost in the mail.
For older Americans in particular, finding a new job that pays well remains stubbornly elusive and many suspect that the jobs are going to someone younger.
It’s not just paranoia: at 56 million strong, millennials are now the dominant generation in the workforce. They also do the most job hopping. While Gen X and Baby Boomers tend to wait things out, millennials are not shy about accelerating the climb up the corporate ladder by moving from job to job.
But before you get the impression that there is a villain in this scenario, keep in mind that while millennials may be younger than you, they also have better technology skills than you—and technology skills are oftentimes the key to landing a new job.
Every job today requires an understanding of technology and a comfort level with the programs related to your functional department. It is simply impossible to hide from technology. The issue is that new technology emerges and becomes obsolete so rapidly today that it can be challenging to stay updated. Additionally, as we age, we tend to lose patience for learning new things.
Just ask yourself if the skills you currently possess would get you hired at your job again today. Being able to answer “yes” takes some maneuvering — and it may take some reverse mentoring too.
By now, we’re all familiar with the role of mentor and mentee: whether formally sanctioned by human resources or something more casual, we’re paired with junior employees and help them navigate the ups, downs, and secret handshakes of work.
But reverse mentoring flips that script: we pair up with younger staffers to learn their tricks of the trade and everyday work hacks.
It can start with something as simple as asking a colleague to lunch. Networking with younger colleagues and showing curiosity about what they do can help you stay informed and give you entrée into a different social circle…one that can pay dividends down the line as those colleagues advance in their careers.
It’s good for your communication skills, as well. If you’re always hanging out with people your own age, you’re probably not learning the latest social media platforms and newest apps. Absorbing and learning new social technology helps you come across as more youthful and informed. Ultimately, it maintains your relevance and marketability.
Forming ties and collaborating with colleagues at all levels is an important career skill and through reverse mentoring you’ll learn new skills, make new friends, and strategically position yourself for your next job.
If you need support in planning your job search and creating a professionally written resume, contact San Francisco-based resume writer, Robin Kelley, at Resume Preferred to schedule an introductory call.