If you are over 50 years old, and looking for employment, you have your work cut out for you. You're up against a plethora of recent college graduates also looking, and even though employers can't legally engage in age discrimination, it still happens. In fact, ExecuNet, an executive-level membership website, reports that a vice president over age 50 requires 20% more time to land a position than someone at the same level in their early- to mid-forties. So if you're dusting off your resume, keep these tips in mind to accelerate your job search:
1. Learn How to Network on Social Media
Even if you've never liked or followed someone on Facebook or Twitter, now is the time to use social media for networking. Use LinkedIn to look for industry influencers in your niche, participate in a few conversations, and get the networking ball rolling. Also, check out The Water Cooler group at the AARP website for more networking tips and resources.
2. Use the Right Online Job Search Sites
CareerBuilder and Monster are great, but in order to save time, focus on websites designed specifically for an older population. Try Employment For Seniors, the Mature Workers Community Channel at the DiversityWorking website, and The Senior Community Service Employment Program located at the AARP website.
3. Carefully Consider a Career Coach
Career coaches aren't always necessary, but sometimes their knowledge and skills are exactly what you need to land a job. If you'd like a refresher course on interviewing or job searching, or if you're thinking about switching careers, go ahead and seek out professional help. Career coaches can look over your resume, identify strengths and weaknesses, and provide actionable tips for improving your job search.
4. Embrace Your Age
There's no point in trying to hide your age, and doing so may actually hurt your job search. Instead, embrace the advantages your experience has to offer. When interviewing for a position, play up your achievements and draw on your years of work to highlight your knowledge and skills. There are in fact many benefits to hiring older workers.
5. Continue Your Education
No, you don't have to go back to school to enroll in a degree program, but showing potential employers that you're a lifelong learner doesn't hurt. Seek out new certifications or continuing education credits within your field to show hiring managers that you're ready, willing, and able to expand your horizons and develop new skills. Courses in technology are particularly helpful. Do an Internet search for certifications in your field to see what's available.
6. Know How to Ace the Interview
While it's good to build a rapport with the hiring manager, keep the discussion focused on professional matters, rather than personal ones. When conversations get overly personal, it's easy to let information slip, such as a recent illness, that could work against you when the manager makes his or her hiring decision. Make an interview go smoothly by practicing with friends, family members, or a career coach before the big day.
When it comes to landing a job, don't underestimate the power of your resume. Unless you have recent, relevant experience in resume creation, go ahead and pay to have it professionally written. Sometimes you have to spend money to make money, and there's no reason to cut corners on this important job search tool.
What job search tips do you have for the 50 plus crowd? Share your thoughts in the comment section below.