Make Sure You’re Not Tomorrow’s Polaroid Camera

Newsweek in it’s February 21st edition has a remarkable article by Lauren Streib about Who’s Eating Your Lunch?  The business comparison discusses what used to be the standard for success in a specific market or channel and who is the current winner.  Think about it, My Space has been dethroned by Facebook, Amazon has placed Borders in bankruptcy, Cannon is now the camera of choice over Kodak and Polaroid, Netflix can provide you movies instantly or via the mail better than the antiquated and on life-support brick and mortar company Blockbuster and XBox Kinect is the cuurent winner in the video game hardware war over Wii and Playstation.

Fame and fortune can be a fleeting moment in time and if you are going to benefit from this prime position it is important for you to market yourself as the champion that you are.  If you are going to get the attention of prospective employers you must inform the world that time has not passed you by.  In your Cover Letter and Resume you must provide evidence that you have not just kept up with what has taken place in your field but you have mastered it.

For those who are In Transition and can remember John Kennedy’s funeral and not just his offspring’s demise, it is vital for you to postition yourself as not just being experienced but also up-to-date and always open to new and evolutionary approaches to getting the job done.  No one wants to hire a leader who only remembers how we did it back in the ’70’s and ’80’s.

Unless you are interested in an engineering position, no one really expects you to be a technological expert but they do demand that you have kept up with the latest elements of your profession and the world around you.  I have to laugh at some job postings that ask for word, excel and computing skills; for me that is basic, door-opening talents that should be a given for anyone desiring a postition in a 21st Century office.

You hear of the concern from society that if job-seekers are unemployed for any length of time that these individuals could start losing their skills and become even less employable.  The flip side to this equation is that individuals during this transition should be honing and expanding their skills by either taking a class or two or just practicing at home on elements of the profession that will make you more attractive to those who are in the search mode.

Experience and crisp business skills can be a touchy subject once you do get a discussion or interview with a prospective employer.  On one hand you certainly want the interviewer to know that you have a grand track record of achievements while downplaying the fact that you aren’t exactly 30 while on the other hand it is important for you to emphasize that you are on-top-of all the pressing issues and expected talents of the day in your profession and that being a person of your age is vital for the company or association since you have learned much over the years and that past mistakes and experiences will make you an even better leader for this new company. 

It always shocks me to talk to an individual who is so specialized and focused in his thoughts and within his profession that no one in his right mind would ever contemplate describing him as a well-rounded individual.  In today’s job market, employers are looking for team players but are also looking for someone who can speak with some knowledge and experience and is well-read on many different subjects and levels.

The bottom-line is that short of botox and a hair transplant we are always going to look our age, but we don’t have to act like an aging baby-boomer.  Keep on top of everything that is happening in the world and start analyzing your perspectives.  Have you become older than you really are?  Be open to change and professional evolvement.  Your creativity didn’t stop once your kids entered college.  Be future focused rather than always contemplating what was so good about the past.  Truth be told, the past wasn’t as good as you remember.  The saving grace is that the bad memories aren’t as bad as you remember either.

If you don’t want your career or life to end up as tomorrow’s Polaroid Camera it is now time to repackage yourself.  By all means, if you start hearing your father’s words coming out of your mouth it is certainly time to contemplate how you can emphasize to a future employer your modern techniques while also confirming that it is because of your life experiences that you can bring to the new position a gamut of skills that no one else can.  Make your experiences a positive but remember not to sound too old while you are doing it.


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