22 Feb Sage Advice: Tips for the Older Job Seeker
Whenever you find yourself in the market for a new job, you’ll likely get all kinds of advice. Some of which is more useful than others, as everyone has a different opinion on what’s the most difficult thing about finding your next position. But one thing people don’t consider is age. If you’re an older job seeker – especially over 50 – you could find that you have unique challenges.
Things to consider if you’re an older job seeker:
Party on. Ok, you don’t actually have to hit a club. But, do stay in touch with former colleagues, bosses and clients. Simply put, people who knew you in your thirties, or even your forties, are less likely to think of you as “older”, in a concerning way.
They know your work history and your assets, just as anyone’s network does, but in addition, they also have a snapshot of who you are as a person, not a profile based on age. Sure, it would be great if anyone looked past age, but start at least with those who really can.
Socially awkward. You don’t have to be the biggest trendsetter on Snapchat (though it would be good to know what it is). But, you do need to, well, not hostile to social media. That means at the very least some basics like, updating your email provider (hint: AOL is sooo 15 years ago).
Keep your Facebook account up to date (and professionally appropriate, of course), not with a few posts on your page that looks like the grandkids set it up for you. The truth is that people over 50 are all over Facebook, Twitter and other social media platforms, it’s just a perception that they are not.
But, if you’re actually one of those whose almost totally offline, put down the rotary phone and accept that you need to look relatively fluent in…21st century. It’s more than just looking cool. Companies use social media to post jobs, communicate to clients, find leads, sell products and other real business directives. You need to be clear that you can keep up.
Resume reduction. It can seem impossible to limit thirty years of professional experience to just one or two pages. Nonsense. It’s not difficult at all. You need to choose highlights, recent activities, make tough decisions and limit your resume to two pages, tops.
Yes, you can. One, recruiters just don’t have the time to read more than that. Two, a lot of your experience from, say, 1995, just isn’t relevant anymore. Or, if it is more relevant than the last ten years, that’s a problem. There’s absolutely no reason to hide your age, but you don’t need to reiterate the fact that you’re an older job seeker by giving a blow by blow of life in the eighties.
As an older job seeker has lots to offer.
You don’t need to be defensive or apologetic about being an experienced employee. There is a lot to be said for being savvy at office politics, weathering layoffs, living through corporate changes. There’s also of course maturity and confidence when you’re not still establishing yourself in your career. But sometimes the appearances of an old-school email address or ten-page resume get in the way of the more important things an older job seeker can offer. So make it as easy as possible for people to see the value of those who are young at heart, and also older and wiser.