Employers must hire people that can advance the organization’s mission, strategic goals and contribute to the team and well-being of the organization. Some hire for a good attitude and offer training on the specifics (customer service jobs are prime example). Candidates must be well-versed in explaining how both their transferable skills and industry or professional skills are applicable to the job or organization. Research the organization, talk to people who work there via many of the online and networking resources. Employers want people who have taken the effort to match themselves with as much public information as possible.
Employers want people who can become productive as quickly as possible. This means there are skills that are now ‘basic’ that were specialized just 5-10 years ago. Of course these include computer skills. Check your profession for current trends, issues, and leading thinkers/writers to see if there is an area you need to update. Attend professional association meetings to learn, discuss, and share resources as well as let people know you are looking for employment.
Employers want people who have, can develop or share talents that will enhance the organization. Many organizations have established Competencies that distinguish their talent from the competition. Most professional associations have competencies or standards. Many job descriptions and interview questions are based on these competencies as well as the specific job needs. Candidates can prepare responses to include examples of how they have demonstrated these competencies. A baseline set of competencies can be found at OPM for both staff and leadership levels.
Employers want people they can depend on to reap the investment of hiring and training. Most are not looking for 20-year commitments. Many jobs take significant time to learn the nuances of the work, the customer and the organization to be most effective performers. Boomers need to know the type of commitment they are willing to make and how they can continue to contribute if health issues arise. This is true for any age candidate.
Boomers may be able to take advantage of others changing jobs as the economy picks up. Use your non-traditional candidacy to your advantage. Be ready to state the specific positive attributes your offer and how it can be an advantage to the employers.