A business psychologist who advises companies on hiring decisions offers valuable insights into how older workers can find a job.
The anemic job market seems to be a boon for self-help books targeting the job seeker. Losing a job is not just damaging to the ego, says Laser: “With so much of our identity tied to our jobs—for better or worse—being unemployed is a devastating event and one that should not be minimized even by those who seek to define their lives with a broader sense of purpose.” Laser directly addresses “the obvious ageism” that he says is hidden in large layoffs. Securing a position, he says, is difficult for those over 40 and “almost impossible” for those over 50. He begins with a reality check on a job seeker’s “Three A’s”: age, appearance and attitude. He offers insightful advice about all three, concluding that attitude is perhaps most important because of today’s “new reality” in the job market. The author acknowledges that older workers will be quietly discriminated against, and that persistence and positive thinking will be necessary to prevail. Finding a job, says Laser, is full-time work, although he suggests that the job seeker make his or her time productive by also considering part-time employment or volunteer work since they could lead to other opportunities “to showcase your skills in front of prospective employers and key contact people.” Laser’s profession is helping employers evaluate candidates, so readers are likely to find his perspective on “what employers are really looking for” to be worth the price of the book. He makes the somewhat stunning admission that “if you look good and talk a good game, you have a better chance of being hired than someone who is not so attractive or gifted with his or her words.” At least job seekers will understand what they are up against.
Laser includes the expected information about resumes, references and interviewing found in other books in this category, but the real value of this book is Laser’s unvarnished viewpoint on what older job seekers can do to make themselves appealing to employers.