Searching for a new job can feel daunting, but for those workers over the age of 50, ageism can add an extra dimension to the job search. In fact, if you were born before Gates and Jobs made the desktop computer a household commodity, age discrimination is probably one your biggest concerns.
You are not alone. In a 2015 survey conducted by Careerealism, 87% of “older” job seekers thought that age discrimination was hurting their job search. However, what the survey also found is that job seekers over the age of 50 tended to approach the job search in an outdated fashion. This does not mean that they showed up to an interview in a leisure suit and had the alarm on their flip phone go off reminding them to take their medicine. It means that many older job seekers do not take the time to find out what was truly valuable to employers. This one misstep caused them to look cocky, desperate or overbearing, to employers.
So if you are looking to make a mid-career change, here are 5 key things you can do to successfully navigate the job search market and land your next best-fit job.
- Give your résumé a face lift. Yes, you still need a resume, but make sure that you have the right resume…targeted for the type of job you want. Focus on the last 10 years of your experience, stressing recent accomplishments and measurable results. Also, leave the year you graduated as well as your age off of your résumé.
- Update your skills. Seriously…this is crucial. If you work in the IT sector and were are a COBOL programmer who has worked on mainframe computers for most of your career, and you do not know a thing about responsive design or new “web” languages, you have to update your skills. The same holds true for many other types of positions. There are all kinds cloud applications that marketers and finance and logistics positions use. Technology truly evolves in months – not years – so you need to treat training and education as an ongoing task.
- Make Social Media Your Friend. You may view Facebook as a representation of everything that is wrong with society, but you need to become comfortable with social media. This doesn’t mean you have to start posting Snapchat selfies or live tweet the next time you watch the Grammy’s, but you must get comfortable with business networking sites like LinkedIn. It is very likely that the recruiter or manager who interviews will use social media to vet you.
- Focus on the First Impression. Hiring decisions can be made very quickly; therefore, the first impression is very important. Invest in an up-to-date interview outfit (and this may include eyeglasses…nothing says “old” quicker than a pair of Buddy Holly eyeglasses) that fits you well. Up-to-date may not also mean a blue suit; study the industry and the company and wear something appropriate. During the interview do what you can to give the immediate impression that your skills are up-to-date and you are up the challenge. Make sure you make eye contact, animate your body language and pay attention to your tone of voice.
Don’t forget temporary work. Register with Snelling and start working with some of your area’s best employers. At Snelling, we know that older workers are some of the most experienced and dependable individuals the market has to offer. We’ll listen to your needs, assess your skills and match you with a great job – that may not be advertised anywhere else. Want to know more? Locate your local Snelling office toda