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Job Searching After 50: 8 Success Tips

1. Improve Your Skills


A typical error job searchers over the age of 50 make is reading the job description and assuming they won't be a good match because the function requires them to utilize software they've never used. "Don't rule yourself out until you understand what the job entails," advises Addie Swartz, CEO of ReacHIRE, a Concord, MA-based organization that collaborates with big corporations to assist women earn skills, training, and mentoring when they return to work after caring for a family member.


Perhaps you are unfamiliar with the exact program specified in the post, but you possess all of the other requisite abilities. Instead of passing up the chance, utilize a YouTube instructional or an online course to educate yourself how to use the program. According to Swartz, anybody may take online lessons to get certified in some of the most popular software products, such as Amazon Web Services (AWS), Systems Applications and Products (SAP), Hootsuite, and Salesforce.


"If you put that [qualification] on your résumé, no one will care about the dates you graduated from college or graduate school," she explains. In other words, if you can demonstrate to an employer that you have the requisite credentials and are eager to develop new abilities, you will be able to drown out any unjustified idea that you are "too old" for the position.



2. Improve Your Resume


If you haven't searched for work in a while and haven't updated your resume, you should reconsider how you display your expertise to ensure your application is competitive.


People no longer read most resumes first. Instead, businesses often utilize an application tracking system (ATS) to organize candidate information and choose which resumes to evaluate. So, make sure your resume adheres to contemporary best practices, such as reflecting the keywords used in the job description and utilizing a design and formatting that will not trip up the program. (Read our guide to learn more about how to ensure your resume gets past an ATS and into the hands of a person.)


Although age-based discrimination is unlawful, it is nevertheless advisable to ensure that your CV does not betray your age. Older candidates often attempt to include every job they've ever had on their CV. However, unless your previous work includes a job title or skill that is specifically relevant to the job posting, you should generally only include the last 15 years of experience on your resume, according to Diane Flynn, co-founder and CEO of ReBoot Accel, a firm in Menlo Park, CA that offers training and placement programs.


Consider your CV strategically, considering what attributes the company is looking for and how you can utilize your abilities and expertise to indicate that you are the ideal person for that post, according to Flynn. For example, if you're applying for a position as head of marketing but have held a variety of positions ranging from staff writer to public relations consultant to marketing manager to development coordinator, streamline your resume to only include marketing-related skills and experience that match the job requirements.


Swartz adds that having a Hotmail or AOL email address instead of a Gmail account is another obvious marker of age. Some businesses may react negatively if you have a Hotmail or AOL account since these platforms are considered old antiques. "You want to control whatever you can, and if it might be regarded negatively, why not obtain a more current email address?" says Julie Q. Brush, founding partner of San Francisco-based Solutus Legal Search, LLC.



3. Locate the Appropriate Environment


The fact is that not every company will welcome senior personnel. And, as a job seeker, you want to be certain that you discover the proper match for you.


Consider which firms respect experience and target them, advises Flynn. Many individuals believe they want to work for a well-known tech business or a well-known startup, but it may not be the best setting for them, particularly if they do not want to report to a much younger management, she adds. If this is the case, you may be a better match at a college or institution that recognizes the abilities that more mature workers bring to the table. She suggests looking at firms that aren't big brands but are searching for seasoned individuals who can take on several tasks.


Pay attention to companies' track records on diversity in general and age in particular, do your research and try to reach out to current or former employees to ask about company culture, and make sure you're applying to organizations that treat workers of all ages the way you'd like to be treated, as well as meet any other criteria you may have.


4. Make Use of Your Experience


"My perspective on how individuals should approach their job search and career management is to be not just truthful, but to embrace everything about themselves," Brush adds. "Their seniority and expertise will give them an edge in the competition." I like to recruit folks who can embrace it and express why it benefits them."


Swartz suggests that during an interview, you discuss the breadth of your expertise and experience, as well as how you can assist younger workers in learning and growing. Outline what you offer to the table, whether it's managing people or money, thinking strategically, or being able to execute on other people's ideas.


And, according to Swartz, don't be afraid to express your willingness to assist others who are more junior in their careers. Many businesses struggle with how to teach and develop their younger workforce, and she believes that matching younger workers with older, more experienced employees is one way to do it.


5. Showcase Your Knowledge


Make it apparent that you understand the most important challenges in your profession and which experts are doing the most intriguing thinking in your business, says Carol Fishman Cohen, chair and cofounder of the Boston-based career reentry company, iRelaunch. Cohen suggests asking other professionals in your area what books and articles they're reading and podcasts they're listening to. She claims that having this expertise will help you portray yourself as someone who is actively involved in your area and will provide you with relevant subjects to talk during interviews and professional networking events.


However, demonstrating that you are an expert in your subject is insufficient. Job applicants are often asked to show their understanding of the business and its goods and services, as well as how industry trends and news influence the organization. "I was looking through your Twitter feed and I noticed the article on economic forecasts your top economist produced and here is what I think about it," Cohen advises.


However, bear in mind that you want to demonstrate that you are not just interested in the issue, but also in the perspectives of others. So, rather of delivering a speech, Cohen recommends engaging in a discussion.



6. Practice Answering Difficult Questions


Brush says it's not unusual for interviewers to tell older applicants they're "overqualified" or "too pricey." Knowing how to react to these statements is crucial, she adds, since they are often used to rule out older job applicants.


Whether an interviewer claims you're overqualified for a job and asks if you'll become bored with it, one approach to respond is, "I don't regard myself as overqualified, but as someone who will offer new expertise to the organization."


You might also reject any (wrong) preconceptions they might have by expressing why you're so interested in the position. "I'm fascinated by this company because it's on the cutting edge of innovation in terms of how you're thinking about the B2B marketing pipeline," you might say, or "This role is very interesting to me because it requires a strong corporate background and it's also highly collaborative with other functions," or "I've always wanted to have a chance to bring my expertise in engineering to a company working on food and sustainability, the intersection of two things I'm passionate about."


If the topic of pay comes up, Brush suggests explaining to the hiring manager why income isn't the most important factor in your job search—if that's the case. Brush suggests focusing on why the remuneration being given is enough for you or why you feel the work corresponds with your long-term ambitions. "I understand why you're concerned, but my priorities for my next chance are finding the proper position, feeling inspired, and contributing value to an organization that inspires me," you may say, or "I know what it's like to have a job that pays well but you're unhappy doing it." I'm prepared to accept a lower salary for the proper position."



7. Understand Video Meetings and Other Tools


To be successful and productive in many workplaces today, you will need to understand communication, project management, and productivity tools—from Slack to Trello to Toggl—in addition to being up to speed on the newest technologies related to your profession.


Some of these technologies, like as Zoom, Google Meet, and other video chat platforms, have also become a crucial part of the recruitment process, so Cohen recommends taking a lesson or watching a training video if you're not sure how to use them. Demonstrating your ability to utilize these tools when interviewing minimizes any reservations a boss may have about selecting an older worker who they believe would be unwilling or unable to learn how to use modern technologies.


If a potential employer requests a video interview, download the necessary app ahead of time and test it with a buddy before the interview. Swartz recommends learning how to share your screen so you may bring up your portfolio or another document during the conversation to emphasize your expertise and demonstrate your knowledge of the technology. If the recruiting manager inquires about your marketing campaign expertise, you might say, "Do you mind if I show you the results from the last campaign I worked on?" and then provide your spreadsheet on the call.



8. Do Not Restrict Your Job Search


Networking is always important in a job hunt, but it may be more important for senior job searchers. Because resumes from older employees don't always show up at the top of the applicant pile, Flynn believes that 85 percent of the individuals she works with over 50 obtain a job via networking rather than responding to a job ad.


Flynn suggests creating a 30-second presentation about the sort of job you're looking for and sharing it with friends, old colleagues you've maintained in touch with, and any people you come across or feel comfortable reaching out to. For example, you may say, "I'd want to use my public relations abilities in the sustainability business." "Do you know somebody I could speak to?"


Flynn advises that if you are introduced to someone, you should contact them to learn more about their business, industry, or function. Instead of asking for a job, inquire about their function, the tools they use to conduct their job, if they have taken any continuing education courses to support their work, what podcasts they listen to, and who they follow on Twitter. This will not only help you design your CV and interview responses better, but it will also help you select what sort of career and work environment you desire and which firms can give it. Furthermore, as you create connections and speak to more people about what you're searching for, you'll be more likely to be remembered when related possibilities arise.


According to Flynn, the most difficult aspect of seeking a new career is getting a foot in the door, so it's also crucial to be open to contract or freelance work that might lead to a full-time chance. Even if a part-time or freelance job does not lead to a full-time career, it will teach much-needed skills that will help you succeed in your next interview, she adds.

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