(From the panel: Optimize Your Job Search with Manoush Zomorodi, Alan Cohen and Tonia Mattu.)
Q: For somebody who wants to make a radical change, how do they go about starting?
Alan: I don’t think anybody should jump without a parachute. Look at your finances. What do you absolutely have to make? Maybe you feel like you need to stay on that career path [to make money] but maybe you can begin to start developing other skills or interests.
Manoush: Chris Anderson, Wired editor, in his spare time developed a blog about Caterpillar. Now if he ever wanted to become a big machinery expert, he could.
Q: What about over-50 jobseekers?
Alan: Employers that share that age prejudice have specific beliefs over what people over the age of 50 can or can’t do. They’ll believe you have to take naps after lunch. [laughs] You may want to look at how you interview and see how you’re addressing those assumptions.
Q: I used to be able to search myself but there’s a drummer with the same name as me. Now all I see is her drumming stuff.
Tonia: You could add a middle initial. Just keep it consistent from your resume to your email address. Make sure you use it with everything and pretty soon you’ll be known as this new person.
Q: All my contacts are in CA and I want to work in NY. How can I get them to get me work?
Tonia: I didn’t know one soul in NYC when I moved here [from Canada]. It was just picking up the phone. I didn’t spend a minute on Careerbuilder or Monster. I made a list of who I wanted to work with and picked up the phone every day. I got in front of every person that I called.