Have you suddenly found yourself in the job market after many years of service? Did you think that your days of writing resumes and making cold calls were long over? Are you concerned that your age may be an additional barrier in your job search? While starting a job search after many years of experience can be overwhelming, if you have the right approach, it can be an exciting and profitable endeavor. Keep the following suggestions in mind to make sure that your age does not become a barrier in your job search:
Keep current. While keeping current is important for everybody, older job seekers need to be particularly vigilant as there may be a perception that they are out of touch. Take courses to make sure that you are up to date on new technology and trends. Also, read recent publications to ensure that you are using current terminology. At your interview, you can mention blogs that you follow and publications that you read. In addition, it is a good idea to have someone look over your resume to make sure that your resume style is current.
Don’t think about yourself as old. The way that you perceive yourself is incredibly important. If you see yourself as old; everyone else will see you as old. While the employer may not even notice your age when you walk into the interview, if you wear clothing that makes you look old, describe yourself as old, appear tired, or sound like you are inflexible or unwilling to learn new things, you will be quickly written off. Try to see yourself as vibrant and youthful and choose clothing that is fashionable and flattering, and the employer will be more focused on your skills than your age.
Networking. Even if you haven’t been deliberate about it, you have built up a network over the years. Now is the time to get organized and make use of that network. Meet up with your friends and acquaintances to let them know that you are looking for work. Since they are familiar with your skills and your work ethic, they may be able to refer you to a position. Start using LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter as it will help you facilitate your networking efforts, and it will demonstrate that you are comfortable with social media.
See your age as an asset and not a liability. Every job seeker has their own challenges: new graduates have little or no experience; parents of young children have to worry about balancing the demands of their job with the needs of their family; and older job seekers worry about age discrimination. Try to think about your age in a positive way; the employer will be benefiting from the experience that you bring to the organization, and you may have more flexibility than younger employees with more family demands.
Looking for a job is difficult for everyone, and it can be easy to get discouraged. However, if you stay confident in the skills that you are bringing to the employer, and you approach the process as an adventure, you will push through the barriers and show the employer your worth.
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