The current job market can be difficult enough for new college graduates, but for those re-entering the market after more than twenty years of stable employment, it can be much less welcoming. Because of age bias and the incessant labeling of those over 50 as “overqualified,” baby boomers have to take a very different approach to the job market than younger generations. The Bureau of Labor Statistics revealed that it takes an average of 22 weeks for someone over 55 to find a job, compared with an average of just 16 weeks for younger workers. Although this may not be the most comforting statistic, there are ways to make 2012 your year despite the obstacles that might lie ahead.
Build a better you
Before you can start working on your professional image, you have to devote some time to personal matters like your health and general well-being. To feel truly refreshed and invigorated for 2012, commit to better habits in your daily life that focus on your physical and mental health. Make simple life changes, like exercising a few times a week and eating healthier. The results will make all the difference in your outlook on life and your ability to cope with the stresses of the job search.
Focus on education
No matter how old you are, there are always new things to learn. Developing new skills can give you a sense of self-sufficiency in your personal and professional life. Sometimes you need to arm yourself with an up-to-date education before you can even become a viable candidate for potential employers. Enrolling in a traditional institution might seem daunting or impractical based on where you are in your life, so you might consider online alternatives to work toward updating your education in a way that works for you. An online bachelor degree will not only look great on your resume, but can help you get a better idea of the current status of your industry.
Build your online presence
Most tech-savvy twenty-somethings already know all of the ins and outs of social networking, but older generations may not be as well-versed in this fundamental aspect of the job search. To improve your chances of finding a job, you can build your online presence by creating professional social networking and blogging accounts on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and Blogger. You can use these sites to your advantage in the job market by emphasizing your communication skills and developing professional connections with individuals in your industry. Familiarizing yourself with current social networking trends can also be applied to tasks you may be assigned while on the job in the future.
Sometimes the lack of fulfillment you have with your current career could simply be because you’ve lost your passion for the industry. It’s natural to want to implement change in your life after several years of doing the same thing, which is why you should consider taking advantage of recareering opportunities to find fulfillment from your job. Recareering would naturally involve quitting your old job, going back to school, and starting from the bottom of the corporate ladder; however, the new outlook it will bring to your professional life makes it all worth it in the end.
Reentering the job market as a mature worker can be a challenge, but committing to improving yourself can lead to a new and improved career—and that’s the kind of advice that’s valuable at any age.