Do you think your age is hindering your job search? When it comes to finding a job after the age of 50, the task can be daunting. There are many new ways to search for job openings, different guidelines for creating a resume, and the prospect of being interviewed by someone half your age. Not to mention that hiring managers might make generalizations based on your age. Typically, hiring managers see older candidates as overqualified, meaning they will cost the company more money. They might also believe you are inflexible to changes or more technologically challenged than younger candidates.
Kick your job search back into gear by following these tips to get yourself back in the door.
1.- Get on social media. If you have held a job for a while and have only recently been laid off, you may have never seen the need to create a LinkedIn account. However, in this era of job hunting, a large amount of hiring managers specifically use this site to search for potential candidates. By creating an account, not only can you upload your resume and all relevant job information, your profile will be in the hands of more hiring managers than you would find otherwise. This is also a great way to show potential employers that you are up-to-date with technology.
2.- Shorten your resume. You don’t need to include every position you’ve held during you career. Anything that is older than ten years can be taken off your resume. Be sure to highlight your most recent achievements and what you are currently working on. You can also get rid of the dates you attended college and earned certain degrees. Hiring managers are more concerned with what you are doing currently to improve your skills.
3.- Network, network, network. In this day and age it is very hard to get a job without that personal connection. This is a skill even younger job seekers have to master. While it’s possible to find a job opening in the local paper or see a help wanted sign in a window, many job opportunities come from simply knowing the right people. Make a point to attend events and seminars that are relevant to your industry. From there, talk to people and start making connections. After the events, be sure to follow up with these new connections to keep your name in their head.
4.- Talk about being overqualified. One of the biggest reasons older job seekers have a hard time finding jobs is because hiring managers think they are overqualified and will cost too much money. It is your job to reassure the interviewer that this is not the case. The first thing you should do is talk about why you are seeking this position. You could talk about your stressful career life and how you are seeking something with less responsibility. You could talk about how you miss doing the hands-on tasks you were accustomed to. You could mention that you are no longer interested in climbing the ladder.
5.- Talk about your understanding of technology. Another reason hiring managers are hesitant about hiring older job seekers is that they think they won’t be as fluent in technology as younger candidates. The interview is your chance to talk about your tech achievements and how you keep up with current technology. There are some subtle ways you can hint to your knowledge of technology before the interview, as well. You can include your professional social page URLs on your resume. You can mention an interesting article you saw on the companies Twitter page in your cover letter. You can also become a regular contributor to industry related groups on LinkedIn.
6.- Prep for the interview. If you’ve been working for a long time, you may feel like you will know all the answers and have no problem getting through an interview. This is a fallacy. Now is the time to practice—even better if you can find someone under the age of 30 to do a mock interview with. Try to remain respectful during the interview at all times. You may think you are more qualified than the person conducting the interview, but this can come off as cocky and condescending, possibly costing you the job. If you don’t practice and fumble during the interview, it could come off as you being unprepared and not taking the interview seriously. In this case, an interviewer may not think you’ve done your homework, don’t care about the company, and don’t care about the industry.
7.- Don’t leave resume gaps. If you are currently unemployed or laid off, you don’t want to sit around doing nothing. While you are searching for another job you should also be volunteering your time at other organizations. When you’re looking for a job, they want to see that you’re keeping yourself busy instead of slacking off. They will look at this volunteer work as experience. Volunteering also gives you the opportunity to meet more people, allowing you to expand your every growing network. You never know who you might find a good work connection with.
8.- Continue to learn. When is the last time you’ve decided to learn a new skill? Hiring managers want to see that you are constantly trying to improve yourself and are willing to learn new things. Most industries are not stagnant—there are ways that you can continue to learn skills that are relevant to your career. Start taking classes, attend a workshop or seminar, work toward a professional certification, anything that shows you haven’t stalled when it comes to learning.
Source: The Ladders
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