Today, I spoke to Jane Genova, who is a coach, book author, and lecturer on careers, specializes in transitions. She is the author of Over-50: How We Keep Working, and is a blogger for AOL Jobs. In this interview, Jane talks about her predictions for the job market this year, how job seekers can stand out online and offline, and more.

Jane, what are your predictions for the job market this year?

It’s obvious that there is some recovery going on in the job market. Even the hardest hit sectors such as legal are seeing new jobs created and with some increase in compensation.

However, longer term, there will continue to be a loss of full-time jobs with benefits and the growth of just-in-time work opportunities in all professions. That means a paradigm shift in how those who need to make a living define “work” and go after it.

This will escalate with the aging of the population. On New Year’s the first of the 76 million Baby Boomers hit 65. Most of them need to continue bringing in income. The odds are that few employers will bring a 65-year old on board for a full time job. That means a surge in the just-in-time or free agency workforce.

How can job seekers stand out online and offline?

This goes way back to Tom Peters’s concept of personal branding. What most don’t realize, though, is that this is a continuous process. Those needing to find work have to keep redefining the unique expertise they provide. That’s the first step. Then the next task is to make known that unique identity. More and more of our financial survival depends on our ability to promote ourselves. Yes, we are our image or promotion of self in everyday life.

Not many want to hear this but it’s the new reality: We all have to become marketing machines. In order to close the deal, we have to become sales animals. So many who come to be for coaching are clueless how to close. Actually all this isn’t new. That’s the gospel of WHAT COLOR IS YOUR PARACHUTE? which dates back to the 1970s. Job hunters should read the latest version several times.

Can using social networks to get jobs hurt you in any way?

Depending on social networks, just like depending on any one strategy or tactic, will eventually hurt you. No way can you make your “comfort zone” social media. Anyway, those on your network likely are weary of your presence.

We all have to develop a variety of strategies and tactics. Those range from participating as a panelist in conferences to joining the local Chamber of Commerce to publishing articles in your field.

That’s what I hammer in the seminar I delivered on multi channel marketing for ExcuSense. It was targeted at law firms but the principles are applicable in most professions. Attached is the copy of that presentation.

What common mistakes do you see job seekers make regularly?

Most job seekers make the fatal error of creating a strategic plan for hunting for work and stick to it. Yet opportunity comes from left field. That’s because of the volatile global economy. The new winners are totally opportunistic. They focus on identifying, pouncing on, and exploiting opportunity. I detail all that in my book OVER-50: HOW WE KEEP WORKING.

Another major mistake is trying to protect sunk costs. For example, an unemployed lawyer I coached valued too much his investment in becoming a lawyer, both time and money, and that identity. He blew interviews outside the legal sector by presenting himself first as a lawyer and not a communications expert or marketer with a legal background. Finally, when he gave up his focus on sunk costs he received multiple offers in lobbying. The reality was that his high Emotional Intelligence [EI] was the most valuable commodity he could sell employers. That strength exceeded his analytical ability in law.

A third mistake is beating themselves up. Everyone I have coached comes to me telling their story in a way that makes them seem like the world’s worst loser. Of course, that holds them back on their hunt or career transition.

It also seems to be the comfort zone in American society: self hate. The way to navigate the difficult process of finding work is what is called “learned optimism.” In his book on the topic LEARNED OPTIMISM, positive psychology founder Martin Seligman, Ph.D. teaches how to re-frame the negative in ways that don’t paralyze you.

Since baby boomers aren’t retiring, Gen-Y is going to find it difficult to get jobs. What advice would you give to them?

I frequently address that issue, including here in this article for AOL Jobs. Yet, I have a sense Generation Y isn’t ready to hear about how the world of work really operates.

“The two obstacles Generation Y faces are that lack of knowledge about how to go to work and over-education.”

We Baby Boomers had to work. Affluence hadn’t happened. No matter if we were in high school, college, or graduate school, we always picked up part-time jobs. That wised us up in what employers really value. For example, we got it that the boss didn’t care how smart we were but how much we could make him or her look good, work less, and feel good. We had down cold everything from concealing our intelligence to the fine art of sucking up. Generation Y has no idea when to hold and when to fold.

Generation Y is also hooked on school. That means they further insulate themselves from professional workplace reality, pile on debt, and develop grandiose expectations about what’s due them because of all the degrees, some from Ivy League institutions.

The first thing I insist on with Generation Y is: Get a job, any job. That will teach them how to go to work. The second thing I insist on is: Never again think in terms of leaving a job or business to attend school full-time. Those who heeded that advice have stopped being the Stuck Generation and are earning much more than a living wage.

Jane Genova, coach, book author, and lecturer on careers, specializes in transitions. Her talk on professional shifts at the New York State Bar Association has been published in VITAL SPEECHES OF THE DAY. Her latest book is OVER-50: HOW WE KEEP WORKING. She blogs on the subject at,, and