Although age discrimination isn’t legally allowed, the fact is, job hunting after 50 does become a bit challenging.
Applying for a Job at Any Age Is a Difficult Process
But the older you are, the more challenging you may find it. It’s no fault of older job seekers, as the job market is geared towards young workers because they are considered up-to-date on current trends and knowledge. In industries like the tech industry, being over 30 can be regarded as too old!
At each stage of the job application process, there are some effective strategies an older job seeker can use to his advantage. Here are a few tips on making job hunting after 50 easier.
Target Your Search
There are always many excellent job opportunities for the more experienced person. In many cases, organizations prefer candidates with an extensive work history for senior positions. While in others, they are careful not to hire overqualified employees for the vacancy as it can be expensive.
To avoid wasting time with companies fixated on younger workers, target your search to places that embrace older employees. You can use online job search sites like SimplyHired 50+ or RetirementJobs.com, making job hunting after 50 easier with openings suitable for the older generation.
Keep Your Resume Current
Add experiences that are relevant (and impressive) regarding the position you are applying for. Highlighting your accomplishments is very important. Limit your resume to two pages at the maximum, and include your recent work history.
You can list details of older or irrelevant work experiences in your CV or as bullet points in the Other Experiences section.
Skip the dates on your degrees and any additional courses you may have taken. Organizations are quite particular about hiring somebody in touch with the latest academic content, which they usually judge from your graduation dates.
In jobs like technology, employers can see a degree over 40 years old as outdated. Although degree dates are not the best indicator of how learned a person is in new advancements, it is a standard method used in recruitment.
With technology and research making giant leaps in advancements every few weeks, companies feel that it is essential that their staff be updated.
It would be best if you highlight your familiarity with the latest technology in your resume. Promote your skills and projects you’ve done that are in line with the work being done today.
Make a LinkedIn profile and add the link to your resume to showcase your networking ability and other details you couldn’t fit on your resume. It will also show that you can use online tools for the workplace even though you are an older job seeker.
Use Your Network
As an older job seeker, one of the best things about your diverse experience is the number of contacts you must have made in your career. Employee referrals are considered one of the best sources of hiring new blood and helps with job hunting after 50.
According to Dr. John Sullivan and Associates’ research, 46% of all hires at top-performing firms are referrals. Companies are more willing to trust the recommendations of their employees over applications from strangers.
So whip out your old phone book and get in touch with former colleagues. Ask them if they know of any job opening you could apply for within their workplace, and they will vouch for you.
Stay in a Routine
Don’t waste time while you’re waiting to find your next job. Use this time to enroll in short-term courses to sharpen your skills and participate in some volunteering activities.
This could help you with a work-based routine and creating networking opportunities with community members. Interacting with people on a schedule keeps you alert, active, and happy.
In an interview, your interviewer is most likely to be somebody younger than you. Don’t let that intimidate you. Be confident and make your years of wisdom act by talking about different challenges and projects you’ve worked on.
Almost like talking to your nephew, keep the conversation positive, and give an impression of working in the long-term. As an older job seeker, you have a lot of useful experience, something to be proud of. Don’t be shy about mentioning the number of years you’ve worked at each place.
However, make sure that your resume, cover letter, and interview focus on the future rather than the past. Don’t portray your experiences and skills in a
“look at everything that I’ve done”
way, but rather in a
“look at everything that I can do for you” manner.
Start Writing Blogs on Current Topics
The most common assumption about people job hunting after 50 years of age is that they probably would have failed to keep pace with time. Employers naturally think you must have missed the bus leading to technological advancement and transformation in lifestyle.
Although all generalizations are wrong, that’s how it is in the market today. Hence, starting a blog becomes that much handier if you cover current topics and significant advances in the field of your interest.
This way, you’ll benefit from being considered an aware person who hasn’t lost touch with the current realities. Naturally, you would have defeated the prevailing prejudice. Given that you write informative and helpful content on the topic of your interest, you won’t be too far away from landing a good job.
Consider Part-Time Jobs as an Option
Employers from various fields are open to hiring individuals over the age of 50 as part-time employees. This way, they get an experienced person to do the job without paying them the job’s designated salary. They get a part-time employee who has seen it all over the years at lesser pay.
Hence, being unenthusiastic about part-time runs isn’t progressive. Instead, you’re missing out on an opportunity by harboring doubt regarding them.
As a part-time employee, the pressure on you to perform is comparatively lighter. You get the legroom to prove yourself worthy of a permanent run with the company. Job hunting after 50 gets a bit easier this way.
You can contact a company you admire and offer yourself a part-time profile. This way, you might be on the road to being happily employed with that company. The company will see a probable employee in you, and they won’t have to commit.
If your performance is in line with their expectations, they might hire you permanently. If not, you can try the same with another firm of your choosing.
Give Yourself a Refreshing Makeover
Appearances matter when it comes to interviews. Your appearance is the very first thing a potential employer notices in you. Especially with aspirants over the age of 50, employers try to guess exactly how old they are.
Hence, a little makeover to look five years younger won’t harm. It has been seen to benefit job seekers over 50 in getting the jobs they desired.
The choice of clothes shouldn’t be too formal. Going bald to hide the grey hair is one of the steps you can take. But do keep in mind that the attire shouldn’t be too casual as it may seem in-congruent at a job interview.
Apart from hiding a shred of aging, it also exudes a sense of self-confidence to go a little informal in attire and behavior. Depending upon the potential employer, it may completely change how they see you.
Learn How to Make Your Experience Count
The experience you already have does count; there is absolutely no doubt about it. Times have changed dramatically in the last two decades in the world of business. There are specific skills that meant a lot 30 years ago but have gone off the preference chart in recent years. Hence, you should know which part of your vast experience will come to your aid.
First, it is necessary to find the companies that are valuing experience over the exuberance of youth.
It might be an eyebrow-raiser, but the number of companies that look for employees with a great experience on their resumes is vast.
To defeat the competition from younger employees, you need to strike the perfect balance between flaunting your experience on the one hand and your familiarity with change on the other.
An experienced individual would surely know the vitality of changing with time. Employers notice that as well. Hence, being rigid about how valuable your experience is would be counted as a negative. You’ve got to know what chords to strike when. And present yourself as an experienced individual who isn’t repulsive to transforming realities.
Try Alternative Jobs Such as Freelancers.com, Ponoko, or Upwork
Apart from landing a good company job, there’s no harm in looking for alternative ways to earn money. Individuals interested in designing products can start their freelance jobs on Freelancers.com, Upwork, or a little store on Ponoko.
If you have a knack for designing and transforming things, Ponoko is another way to job hunting after 50, except for this is more of running on your own. After all, having your online showroom is so much more independent than getting hired as an employee.
Ponoko is a manufacturing service on the web that follows the innovative business model of distributive manufacturing on-demand. You can put it in your design factory or store using the service.
The original products on Ponoko can also be twisted and tweaked as you wish to give them a newer shape. You can, subsequently, sell the resultant product in your web store.
All you need to keep in mind is to follow the copyright guidelines when designing an original product.
If you don’t have design skills but can translate documents, write articles, or even research information on the web, try to look for projects posted on Upwork or Freelancers.com.
These are some of the most popular freelancer platforms that allow you to apply for limited-time projects, paid at a fixed price or hourly.
Job Hunting After 50 Made Easy
Restarting your career is not an easy task since technology has changed the way people work and look for a job.
If you’re not into the digital world yet, you will face challenges because recruiters have also changed the way they find you. Therefore, expose yourself, increase your online presence, use your network, show your knowledge accumulated along with your years of experience.
A blog is a way where you can start getting some attention. And don’t forget to promote your articles, this will undoubtedly give the competitive advantage that you need to compete with the younger professionals.
Just in case you want to make yourself busy right away, look for an alternative like platforms such as Ponoko, where you can find and apply for quick jobs.
Following these suggestions can help you stay on track for your next challenges. What do you think about it?
Christian has over ten years of experience in marketing agencies. Currently, he has been dedicating his time to a tech startup and also writing for major publications. He loves podcasts and reading to keep up with the latest trends in marketing.