How to Handle Your Job Search After Age 50

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, if you are job hunting over age 50 it could take you 12 or more weeks longer to land a position than a 25 or 30-year old. Don’t be discouraged though because you can find a job that fits you. Hiring practices have changed, and you want a good understanding of how job searches are conducted in today’s economy.

Here are 10 helpful tips to help shorten your job search if you find yourself unemployed during your 50s and 60s:

  1. Start your job search immediately. According to a 2015 survey conducted by the AARP Public Policy Institute, job seekers tend to be more successful in securing a job offer when they start their job search immediately versus those who wait.
  1. Know what’s important to you. To help you find the right position, before starting your job search, think about the answers to the following questions:

– how many hours do you want to work?

– where do you want to work?

– is telecommuting important to you?

– do you want a full-time position or are you open to project work, consulting, or contract work?

  1. Articulate what sets you apart from other candidates. The value you offer is critical to your re-employment chances. Make it easier for a prospective employer to see you as a highly qualified candidate.
  1. Make sure your resume doesn’t age you. Crafting a resume strategy is different for older job seekers. Your resume is not an obituary; don’t list every job you’ve ever held. Include about 10- 15 years of relevant experience.
  1. Money matters. Research salaries for the positions you’re seeking. Sometimes a pay cut may be necessary, but not always. If you don’t take the time to do the research, how will you know if a fair offer is being made?
  1. It’s often about who you know. Compared to younger job seekers, your personal network of contacts should be 3-10 times larger. Talk to people rather than just apply for positions online.
  1. Pay attention to details. Do the homework on a prospective employer to help stand out from other candidates. You could identify specific problems where your skillset may be invaluable.
  1. Practice and prepare for the job interview. Today’s job interviews may be structured differently from what you’re accustomed. You could interview with multiple people—either simultaneously in a group interview or in a series of interviews. An initial interview might be conducted using digital interview technology. You need to be able to handle the technology piece of a virtual interview well to progress to an in-person interview.
  1. Dress for success. Personal grooming is of particular importance for older job seekers. Your haircut and attire can cut 10 years off your appearance or prematurely age you. Get an honest assessment of your hairstyle, clothing, and makeup from someone you trust.
  1. Remember what makes you unique. Baby boomers have earned a reputation for having a strong work ethic and more knowledge than younger workers. Remember, you’re worth it!

Conducting a job search after age 50 doesn’t have to be frustrating or result in feeling overwhelmed. Get assistance from a professional resume writer or coach to help you with your job search and career planning.

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