On average, older workers (those over age 55) show lower rates of unemployment; however, if they do lose their jobs –for whatever reason – they typically experience much longer durations of joblessness compared to their younger counterparts.
This can be debilitating, causing feelings of inferiority, weakness and isolation which can in turn negatively impact the job hunt and then (in turn) lead to more feelings of inferiority, weakness and isolation. A never-ending cycle of unemployment can ensue.
But not all the issues are internal to the older job candidate – several are external as well. You are up against many stereotypes and prejudices that you need to work hard to overcome. For example, some hiring managers and recruiters will assume that your salary requirements are too high, or that you are too close to retirement, or that that you have archaic skills.
Here are three things that you need to focus on to help you overcome these assumptions and stereotypes and help you land your new job.
Fill job gaps in your resume – nothing solidifies an assumption of stodginess or archaic skills more than gaps in your resume. Many hiring managers and recruiters look for these. So volunteer for a non-profit or do pro-bono, temporary work or contract work. The rewards are not simply plugging a gap in your resume. You are giving yourself a reason to get motivated every day as well as gaining new skills and contacts.
Network – It is still more about who you know that what you know. Your network of contacts – collected over years of experience – should be leveraged again and again over the course of your job search. The people you know can be called upon for more information and references. Hiring managers want references; they want to talk to others who have worked with you. So leverage your vast network of connections. Your ability to provide a wide variety of contacts, references and endorsements is one of the many things that “improve with age”. So pull together your professional network and let them work for you.
Focus on your interview skills- First meetings are of paramount importance. Researchers from NYU found that people make 11 major decisions about on another in the first 7 seconds of meeting. Everyone makes snap decisions and judgments. During the interview, do not play into any stereotype that would prevent the interviewer from seeing how well you can perform on the job. Focus the interview instead on your knowledge, skills and experience. Research the company, the job and your interviewer. Use your network of contacts to learn more about the company – information that you cannot learn by reading CNN Money. Establish a Google Alert to keep up-to-date. Knowledge and research highlights a level of thoroughness that many applicants do not exhibit.
As you progress through your job search, remember Snelling. We work with clients in many different industries and sectors, of all ages. We have the resources you need to network, brush up on your interviewing skills and provide you with opportunities for temporary work. So register on our website today, and locate your local Snelling office. We are ready to get to work for you!