Job Hunting Success – The lessons from a 50 year old

job hunterOk, maybe 50 and a bit. Job hunting today is very different.  My past success was based on the experience of buying the Thursday and Saturday edition of the Globe and Mail, find a job I liked, apply, get the interview then land the job. If you worked for a Tier 1 organizations, recruiters would always be calling.  Things have changed and these are my lessons.

The Plan

Trying to find a job sitting in front of the computer looking for positions in a faraway land did not work. In August I decided to make a change with the goal of finding a position by the end of the year. I also took a hard look of what the marketing potential for a 50+ can bring to an organization.

Got a coach

Relatives and friends are a great source of support but they will never be completely honest with you for fear of hurting the relationship.  You need someone who will be in your court but will provide you the honest feedback and hold you to your plan. I hooked up with Curt Skene. There are many more out there.  Have a one on one with them and feel out their different styles; hire someone you feel a connection with.

Marketing documentation

A one page biography, professional business cards (not the perforated ones), a resume that delivers your message in 30 seconds, an exciting profile on LinkedIn is all necessary.  Your coach should be well versed in these areas. They need to be developed and support your unique sales proposition.  Marketing me to other people is not natural.  I know I can add value to many organizations but how do others know?

Become a social media giant

I LinkedIn, I tweeted, I blogged, I got involved in discussions with on-line professional groups.  This was not easy and outside my comfort zone.  I got over 500 connections on LinkedIn and made sure I made a status update once or twice a day. I joined groups and actively participated in discussions. Sometimes I sat in front of my computer not knowing what to say but I forced myself to participate. Today I get 40 to 75 visits to my profile per week.  My blogs generated over 200 hits in my first month. I got re-tweeted (OK only twice) but I made sure I stayed top of mind.


I LinkedIn and followed on Twitter many recruiting individuals. I quickly learned that I got very little ROE trying to set up informational meeting with them. When they have an assignment that is when I reach out.  My personal links to over 100 recruiters got me wired in When they had an opportunity I saw their postings right away.  I recommended other to their requests (making sure the recruiter knew I was forwarding the contact)..  I focused my attention to make sure I was searchable to recruiters in the social media platform (see my social media note).


This I found most difficult. Cold calling someone just to introduce yourself was just like scratching the blackboard. It gets less hard with time.  What do you say? I focused on people who were working but had recently been in transition.  They make it easier as they go out of their way to make it easy for you.  Everyone who you meet in person will be someone who will look out for you.  It’s amazing that over time how many kept their ears opened for you and emailed you opportunities. The more people you help the more people help you.

Joined Networking groups

HAPPEN, CPG ExecNet, Food and Pharma, and ExecuNet were the groups I joined. I made great connections.  I helped when I can and they helped me when they could.

Enjoy yourself

Don’t be hung up on the job search.  I took the time to take those long motorcycle trips and did things I didn’t have time to do before.  Be optimistic. Your attitude on life is a huge badge that is highly visible.  I worked on it.

Gary Lajoie is an end to end supply chain professional with expertise in procurement, manufacturing & distribution. Renowned for improving margins by relying on Lean techniques and innovative thinking to progress the organization’s cost saving activities beyond the idea of “picking the low hanging fruit” and uncovering great opportunities “buried in the roots”. Described for his ability to balance the culture and vision of the organization with a hard driving passion for eliminating excess found, but seldom noticed, throughout the supply chain

  1. Elaine Borlace said:

    I loved reading your recent blog on “The Lessons from a 50 year old”

    At this point I have read a lot on the net about job search, but still have much to learn. Unlike many blogs, yours was definitely a keeper, saved in a special file folder to read time and time again.

    I enjoyed your humorous spirit and particularly appreciated the wisdom you shared regarding connections.
    Gary, I was particularly touched that you took the time and effort to write this blog, even though you are in a new job.

    You are truly an inspiration.

    Thank you for being you!

    • Elaine,

      Thank you for your lovely words. I know what it’s like to be in transition. I hoped that by sharing my experiences it would show people what it now takes to find work.

      I waited too long to change my tactics.


  2. Debra Tomotsugu said:

    Dear Gary:

    Thank you so much for taking the time out of your busy schedule to prepare this. As I just found out my job was eliminated 14 hours ago, I know that I will certainly be using your techniques/lessons learned. Also, if you are interested, I would be happy to share with you any new learnings that you can always tweak/share with others. As I am just starting my search, what are the most effective ways you found to locate the names of career search coaches?


    • I’m sorry to hear about your news. Your situation is more common than you think. You can find many career coaches on LinkedIn. Curt Skene was mine. He is based in mississauga.

      Best of luck.


  3. Flem Browni said:

    One person told me to twitter my way to a job. He told me to have 4 network meetings a day and to buy all of them coffee. I did this and landed a job in two months paying 50% more than my last job.

    I followed the advise of Matin Buckland who is a true pundit. As well as a few others. .

    • Having a career coach in your court is very important. You need to stand out from the crowd.

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