When faced with a career change, layoff, or some other type of upset to your professional life, your age may seem like the greatest obstacle to your success. However, it is important to keep a positive mindset during such a difficult time. There are plenty of reasons why an older candidate would be a great choice for a position.
Here are some strategies for assisting with the job search when you’re an older job seeker.
It is important to stay current
One of the biggest challenges for an older job candidate is trying to stay up to date with the latest in technology, hiring trends, and even application processes. While you might have the exact experience and qualifications for the role, it might be possible at times for some recruiters to see you as stuck in a rut. This can be resolved rather easily. Seek out some type of professional development or training, especially in technology. Doing this will give you the ability to demonstrate that you are flexible and can combine experience with being current.
Take a good look at your resume
Chances are you were at your most recent job for quite some time. That means that most of your experience prior to that job might be rather dated. A resume does not need to go past 10 – 15 years of employment. If you are looking to either get back into a field you previously worked in more than 15 years ago, or possess a significant accomplishment with an industry leading company, then this should be included in your resume.
A good rule of thumb is to integrate any skills and achievements from a while back into recent work history.
You’ve been working 10 – 20 years in the same position or even in a senior level role. Keep in mind that this is not always going to be a possibility and you may have to start in a lower level position or even have to take a pay cut. Yes, it is scary and you may not find it feasible, but being able to know and understand your limitations and being flexible is going to be your greatest asset during this time. Be careful not to undersell yourself. You can do this by giving a salary range that may mean less than you were making when asked about your salary requirements. Let the hiring manager know that you are willing and able to adapt to a new role and ready to start over with enthusiasm
Don’t be bitter
There are thousands of jobs out there at any given time, and yes it may seem as though finding a job after 45 is harder than it was at 20 or even 25. There are many hiring managers out there who are older than you. This means that if you are relevant and can offer something fresh, then finding work again will be easy. You must remain positive throughout your search and maintaining your relevance can be done by something as simple as volunteering or taking some classes in order to keep your mind clear. These can also be great networking opportunities. You never know whom you might meet during a weekend of volunteering somewhere. It may just lead to your next career opportunity.
Utilize what you have built
Social media and networking sites such as Facebook and LinkedIn are becoming more popular. Younger job seekers are scrambling to add network connection after network connection. This is an area where you have an advantage. You will likely have acquired a deeper network than someone just getting started in their career, and this is the perfect time to tap into it.
Searching for a job in general is no easy task. No one is going to tell you that a job search after 40 is any different. Keep in mind that you have a lot to offer, remain positive, and let your experience speak for itself.