Job hunting after age 50, can be a new, unusual and if you allow it; a discouraging experience. It’s like you woke up one morning in a foreign country. The roads are different, the transportation and communication system seems to have a language all their own. All very confusing.
Add in the economic and business decline, the falling demand for certain jobs and careers, and the daily birth of new jobs that the title can only be deciphered by those in the know. Add in that many employers who will be playing it safe and hiring the younger less costly job applicant. In the face of all this many job hunters after 50 have given up the job hunt or accepted positions well below their skill and qualification level.
Let’s see if we can get your midlife job search back into the game and increase you changes of getting hired into the right job. Here are some useful ideas and actions you can start taking right now:
Build Your Online Presence: Social networking has grown tremendously in the past several years. One of the first things hiring managers and recruiters do after receiving your resume is to search LinkedIn and Facebook to review your online presence. If nothing shows up, it’s more than likely your resume will be moved to the bottom of the stack, never to be heard from again.
At a minimum you must have a profile on LinkedIn and Facebook. Study the profiles of others; search their archives and the internet for articles on how to write a compelling profile. Concentrate on writing a profile that differentiates you from others in your field. Why should someone want to talk to you? Post a professional picture and you’ll be well on your way.
Build your connections on LinkedIn, and have personal recommendations written by others and posted to your profile.
Start a blog about an aspect of your career, your jobs or the industry you’ve worked in. Make frequent posts and write articles and post them to article directories. Search for other blogs in your field and make appropriate comments. All this activity will help establish your authority in your career field, and when the recruiter Googles you name a whole list of positive information will show up.
Accomplishments Sell Skills: Recruiters and hiring managers are trying to find someone who can solve their problems. They really don’t care that you’ve had 25 years experience in a series of jobs or are over age 50. It’s accomplishments they’re after. And that’s what you have to give them.
You understand return on investment (ROI). Sell the prospective employer on how you saved money, made money, improved something, did something faster and less expensive or otherwise created a benefit for your previous employer.
Focus your resume‘s list of accomplishments on the needs of the employer. For example, if the employer’s number one requirement is cost cutting your first listed accomplishment may be, “developed plan to consolidate functions and cut costs resulting in an annual savings of over $210,000 with increased customer satisfaction.”
If you clearly demonstrate you can make or save money for your employer the hiring manager will see how you can bring value to the job. Your achievements will overcome age as the employer can see how you will help the bottom line.
Now Transform Your Resume: Get rid of the dates on your resume. Going back 10-15 years, remove older work history. If you need to include older work history put it in a section called, “Other Professional Experience.”
Take out the educations dates and the dates you may have taken other professional courses.
Write your accomplishments to closely reflect the needs of the specific employer. This means that each job submission will require an original resume. Once you have developed a body of accomplishments it will become a cut-and-paste exercise.
To further show you are up-to-date; add a section to your resume on “professional education.” Over the past three to five years list all additional education that specifically relates to the job requirements. Self-study, seminars, workshops, conferences and in-house training are all fair game for your list. This will further show to the employer that you are up-to-date on the latest in your field.
Control What You Can Control: Age bias when hiring is a fact with some employers. Your years of relevant experience could be valuable to any employer. You don’t have to apologize for your age or your years of experience. Be positive and sell benefits and age will fade into the background.
Another area you can control is your overall attitude. Keep up-beat, associate with others with the same mind-set, read and listen to motivational books. It’s been proven that positive, can-do job hunters get quicker and more satisfying results from their job search.
If you concentrate on what you can control, remain positive and sell the benefits you have to offer, your stalled job hunt after 50 will get back on track.
John Groth has changed careers seven times during his working life. Learn more about changing careers and job hunting after age 50 at http://careersafter50.com. Discover how others over age 50, built winning career plans and found the right careers by successful job hunting after 50.