Seven Ways to Land an Awesome Job When You're Over 50
Make your years of experience work for you
Some people over 50 who find themselves unemployed have a difficult time finding work despite having more experience than younger job-seekers. Here are some thoughts to consider if you fall into this category.
1. Use the best highlights for your résumé
You've probably accrued more material to include on your résumé than many younger applicants. There's no reason this shouldn't be viewed as an advantage. People in earlier stages of their careers have fewer highlights to choose from. You have the luxury of singling out the parts of your professional life that are worth illustrating. In selecting the highlights, you can whittle down the length, making for a résumé that's more likely to be read. There are also advantages to leaving parts out.
As Biron Clark at Career Sidekick explains, "Eliminate dates of graduation and other things that can allow for age discrimination on your résumé. Also, reduce the number of previous positions you include on your résumé so that employers don’t rule you out based on age or being 'too experienced' or 'overqualified'. Fact: it’s your choice what to put, and what not to put, on your résumé. If you have a 30-year career, you do not need to include your first job as an entry-level individual contributor if you’re at the Director-level now."1
2. Play up your experience (especially working with teams)
The interview is the time to play up the experience you have and to let the interviewer know that you’re a team player with a lot to contribute. You have the opportunity for a two-sided conversation and to defend yourself against claims that you are "overqualified" or "too experienced." One thing in your favor is that over the years, you’ve probably been through many interviews of one sort or another, so it won’t be a totally new experience.
3. Be flexible about your salary
If your interviewer suggests you may be overqualified, that's a polite way of saying they don't want to pay you what you're probably worth. So, if this is a job you really want, it's a good idea to be flexible about your salary and to make that clear during the interview. This makes you a bargain that may be too good to pass up.
4. Stay up on technology
No matter where you are in your career – whether you're between jobs or currently employed – try to keep up on technology trends, especially in your industry. The more knowledgeable you remain in this area, the more valuable you'll be to a future employer. Interviewers may assume that an older person will be less tech-savvy, so that’s a bias you’ll have to dispel quickly. Even if you don't have extensive experience with the latest tech, having knowledge about it can go a long way during the interview process and can help give you an edge over the competition.
5. Never stop networking
It should go without saying, but the more connections you have, the more people you have in your life who may be able to help you find a job. Never stop networking, because you never know when one of these connections will lead you to the job you need or want. Even if a connection can't get you a job directly, they may know of a company that is hiring or may be able to give you a solid reference.
6. Use social media
There are many pros and cons to social media, but one thing is undeniable. It connects people, and this can be used as an extension of your broader networking efforts. In fact, the global scale of social media gives you the opportunity to connect with people anywhere in the world and form relationships that could help you down the line. Facebook is ideal for people you've met in person, while Twitter gives you a shot at interacting with people you respect, who may otherwise be harder to reach. LinkedIn is great for maintaining and leveraging existing professional connections.
7. If all else fails, work for yourself
If you just can't seem to land a job, don't rule out the opportunity to work for yourself. There are a lot of freelance opportunities to be had if you know the right places to look. Your social media connections may lead you to some of these, but you can always keep an eye on freelance job sites and even present yourself as a freelance option in other job interviews. Some employers might be willing to give you a chance in this capacity even if they don't hire you outright.
The information provided is presented for general informational purposes only and does not constitute tax, legal or business advice. Any views expressed in this article may not necessarily be those of Nevada State Bank, a division of Zions Bancorporation, N.A. Member FDIC