Job Search Tips For Older Workers
Unfortunately, the older you are, the longer it can take to get a job and the harder it will be to get hired. Employers are generally concerned that older workers will require more pay and have less technological savvy than their younger counterparts. Some industries—like the technology industry—even consider applicants in their mid-thirties to be “old.” There are ways to combat age discrimination, but it is still an ongoing concern.
Since your resume is the first thing that employers see, try to cut it down so that you don’t seem too old for the position. There is no need to list every job you have ever held, so limit what you include. Generally only list the most recent 10 or 15 years of work. If you are willing to take a pay cut, then downplay your former position titles as well. Potential employers may see your titles and assume that you are out of their price range. For example, the title Senior Manager will still make you seem qualified, but also more affordable than the title Vice President. You do not need to list your graduation year on your resume. The year will draw attention to your age, rather than the experience that you have. They will find out your age eventually, but this could prevent the initial bias.
Try to update your appearance for the interview. Out of date clothes and hairstyles will give the impression that your skills are similarly out of date. Office dress codes are more casual now, so you may seem overdressed in a 3-piece suit. PDAs and other technology can make you appear current and qualified for a high-tech job.
Use your employment history to your benefit. You will most likely have a lot of relevant work experience, so use that to edge out younger competition. You will also have more contacts in your field of interest, so use these connections to network. It can help to get involved in social media by creating a LinkedIn account to connect with business contacts that you perhaps haven’t spoken to in awhile.
Most importantly, keep your skills up to date. Older workers need to be able to use technology, send emails, and use programs. There are classes available at community colleges, libraries, and continuing education centers. These are low-cost solutions that are essential to getting a new job. Additionally, if you are in a changing industry, then you need to make sure your education is current. For example, tax laws change so experienced accountants must be just as knowledgeable as new graduates about new laws.
Finding a job as an older worker is certainly more difficult than it is for younger workers. However, many employers still appreciate the skills and experience that come with age. Your job search will most likely take more time, so be prepared to persevere. You should also think about your answers to questions like “How much longer do you plan on working?” and “Don’t you think you are overqualified for this position?” Having a set plan and staying positive during the job search will have a significant impact on your success.
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