Make Age a Job Search Asset
By Susan Eakes on May 14, 2014
Hide your age? Don’t mention graduation dates? Dye your hair? As a job seeker over 50, you need to be realistic that you may face greater challenges in today’s market. But, pretending to be someone you’re not is no way to overcome stereotypes. Be confident in yourself and prepared to talk about the strengths that come with age. Employers tell us that they value experience and knowledge. They appreciate a strong work ethic and effective communication skills. They welcome wisdom and an ability to mentor others. Along the way, you’ve learned a lot that may actually win you a job over someone younger and less experienced.
So, put your best foot forward, but be thoughtful about concerns older candidates may provoke. An employer will want you to demonstrate that you have the flexibility to learn new things, adapt to new cultures and even take direction from younger managers. They’ll want to see that you’re comfortable with the latest technology and that your skills are up to date. If you need to, educate yourself or take classes or join a professional organization. Show them you’re right for the job. Keep your LinkedIn profile current. Deliver a message that’s positive, energetic and in touch.
Finally, be strategic. Not every employer will be right for you. Healthcare, education, non-profits and government are among the sectors where older candidates are more likely to find success. Target companies that cater to baby boomers. Since you’re their chosen demographic, your perspective matters. Also, target jobs that speak to your passion(s). In an interview, your enthusiasm will shine through. Put it all together and you may find your next job quicker.
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