In todayâ€™s economy, itâ€™s hard enough to find a job fresh out of college or even mid-career.Â Itâ€™s even harder for those over the age of 50.Â According to AARP, individuals over 50 spend almost twice as long unemployed than those under 50.
Thanks to the folks at MainStreet.com, we found these 5 tips for finding a job over the age of 50.
- Play your age up, not down. Thereâ€™s no hiding your age in an interview, so make it an asset. But instead of focusing on the number, highlight what comes with it: your experience and reliability. Career counselor Vernon Bailey, interviewed in the video, adds, â€śYounger people might not have that experience, and youâ€™re demonstrating you can do it, because youâ€™ve already done it.â€ť
- Â Learn the tech. If anyone thinks youâ€™re â€śbehind the timesâ€ť or â€śout of touch,â€ť prove them wrong. If 81-year-old media mogul @RupertMurdoch can learn to use Twitter, so can you. Behind on industry-specific skills and software? Brush up with some courses or teach yourself. AARP WorkSearch, one of the resources we mentioned in 4 Places for Free Job Training, has an education and training section to help decide whatâ€™s right for you and where you can get it.
- Settle for less â€“ at first. Go easy on salary negotiations and aim for performance-based bonuses rather than a higher base pay. Bailey says, â€śConsider what theyâ€™re offering with the caveat to renegotiate after six months,â€ť once youâ€™ve proven you deserve more. Focus on getting your foot in the door. If you sense that the employer is wavering because of money, explain youâ€™re flexible and just want to prove yourself â€“ and that theyâ€™ll spend less time and money training you than someone younger. If youâ€™re looking to change fields, you might even consider an internship â€“ theyâ€™re not just for college kids anymore. According to this Public Radio International story, more than half of companies would consider hiring older workers, but only about 7% say they get over-50 applicants.
- Prove youâ€™re a good fit. Any decent job candidate has to show they can adapt to the culture and be a team player. For older workers, this might mean persuading a younger boss youâ€™re not out for his job. Ever worked for a start-up or some other company with a younger culture? Mentioning that might help. If not, make it clear in the interview youâ€™re not there to challenge authority â€“ and donâ€™t imply that you can teach junior a lot of life lessons.
- Update and trim your resume. Hereâ€™s the AARPâ€™s resume advice, which includes some samples in different styles. But however you choose to organize your work history, donâ€™t include it all â€“ only go back 10 to 15 years. No matter how much experience you have, employers probably wonâ€™t skim through more than two pages. The exception is if they specifically ask for a full run-down â€” like in academia, where you probably need a curriculum vitae. Also be careful with your language. Some terms and phrases that were common and accepted the last time you had to look for work may have become cliche. Try looking at the resume of a younger professional (but not a new college gradâ€™s, because theyâ€™re terrible) for guidance.
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Photo Credit: MainStreet.com