f you're over 50, you might have found yourself in the same situation I was in a year ago: out of work and worried that my age would make it impossible to find another job. Well, I'm happy to say that I've since gotten a new gig, and now I want to share with you the steps I took to find this new opportunity. Just keep these tips in mind as you embark on your mission for employment:
You've got a lot to offer, but you also need to show that in ways that interviewers will understand and appreciate.
The first thing to remember is that your experience is not the only thing you bring to the table. You've got a lot of skills, knowledge and talent that you can apply to any job. And while it's true that your age may qualify as a disadvantage, it doesn't have to be if you understand what interviewers are really looking for and show them in ways that make sense for them.
Interviewers want employees who are team players—who will work with others and do what needs doing when necessary—and they want problem solvers: people who can identify solutions when problems come up. They also want good communicators: people who listen well, ask questions when needed and articulate their thoughts clearly in writing or verbally (or both!). Finally, they want good learners: passionate learners who are willing to learn new things every day because they know there’s always something new out there waiting just around the corner!
Stop dwelling on your experience.
In your 50s, you've likely accumulated a lot of hard-won experience. You know how to do things the right way and have an impressive track record for it. But when you're looking for work, it's not what you've done that matters most—it's what you can do in the future.
There are plenty of things about your past that may be worth sharing with potential employers—your knowledge base, problem solving skills and leadership capabilities are all valuable assets in any field. But if there are any gaps in employment on your resume or other red flags that could point to burnout or dissatisfaction (e.g., job hopping), don't make the mistake of highlighting these aspects during an interview as part of a conversation about how valuable your experience is to them. Instead, focus on what makes this particular opportunity special and then explain why those circumstances are right for bringing out your best work yet!
Focus on what you can bring to the table.
As you begin to focus on what you can bring to the table, remember that your resume is a marketing document. It should be written for the reader, not for yourself. So don’t feel that it’s necessary to include every single detail about your life and work history; only include information that will help make your case with regard to what kind of job you want and why they should hire you over other candidates.
To that end, here are some tips:
- Make sure the resume includes all relevant information about your career experiences—but don’t simply list everything in reverse chronological order; highlight only those accomplishments and results that most closely align with the position for which you are applying.
- Include a skills section near the top of each page (this won't usually be necessary if there's already one on each page). In this section describe any skills or talents that pertain directly to this position (more than just generic ones like "communication," "teamwork," or "organization") in terms of how they would benefit them as an employer or client/customer/patron--the more specific and detailed these are, the better!
- When listing references be sure write something like: “References available upon request" instead; otherwise potential employers might think they're being sneaky when really all they're trying do is save time by checking online first before bothering asking contact info later when making final decision anyway."
Figure out how your skills could translate.
Here's the good news: Many of the skills you have developed over time are still relevant. You've already proven that you can multitask and manage projects, so those skills will be great in a new job. But it's important to show how they can be used in a new way, or somewhere else, which is where your creativity comes in.
For example, if you're applying for another job within your field but at a different company (or even just within the same company), don't simply say that your 20 years' worth of experience working with X software means that you know how to do Y tasks or solve Z problems—show how those two things are connected.
Or let's say that after working as an accountant for decades, you decide to start your own business as an accountant-slash-bookkeeper-slash-financial advisor who helps clients with all their accounting needs plus some additional services like tax planning or retirement plans for small businesses—that would mean there will be plenty of opportunities for collaboration among all three aspects of these skills in order to help people save money on taxes while making sure they’re saving enough money overall!
Consider hiring a job coach or career counselor who can help you make your pitch more compelling.
You can find a job coach or career counselor on your own, or through a professional association. You might also hire one as an outside resource. A coach can help you with networking and interview techniques, but they're not therapists—they don't delve into your personal issues or make judgments about them.
A good fit for this type of work is someone who has had some experience in the industry you're interested in and who is familiar with the challenges faced by over-50 job seekers.
Get comfortable with self-promotion
You're going to need to sell yourself in job interviews, so it's a good idea to practice selling yourself before you get into the interview situation. Write down all of your strengths, and think about how you could present them when asked why you're right for the job. This isn't a bad thing! There's nothing wrong with being proud of what you've done or excellent at what you do—in fact, employers want employees who are excited about their work and confident enough in themselves that they aren't afraid to put themselves out there and show off their talents.
Tweak or rewrite your resume.
Update your resume. It's important to make sure that your resume is up to date, well organized, and well written. This will help you stand out from other applicants by showing that you are organized and detail-oriented—skills many employers look for in potential new hires.
Make sure it's easy to read. It may sound obvious, but the first thing employers will notice when they receive your application is whether or not it's easy on the eyes. They want resumes that are clear and concise (just one page if possible), which means no overly dense blocks of text without paragraphs or bullet points breaking up sections of content into manageable chunks; no crazy fonts; no unnecessary graphics (think clip art). And please don't use Comic Sans—ever!
Add industry buzzwords where appropriate. Employers look for candidates who have transferable skills—people who can pick up a new job quickly without having to undergo extensive training at every company where they work—so if there are certain phrases or keywords in an ad or business plan that seem relevant to what interests you about this position, feel free to incorporate them into your application materials so long as they're used correctly and appropriately placed within those documents' overall context."
If you’re looking for a job, it’s important to network and let people know you are searching. But it’s also important to network with the right people, says Michael Fertik, CEO of Reputation.com and author of The Reputation Economy: How Technology Is Reshaping the Way We Live, Work and Think (Bloomsbury). “A lot of people mistakenly think that networking is about collecting business cards from as many people as possible at networking events or even just saying ‘hi’ to everyone they meet in their daily lives," he says. "But really effective networking is about identifying one or two key contacts per industry who can actually help you find work."
Be aware of your personal brand. Your personal brand is how others perceive and talk about you when they refer to or interact with you, says John Miller, executive director at Career Management Institute at Loyola University Chicago's Quinlan School of Business; author of The New Rules for Reinventing Yourself: The Breakthrough System for Discovering Your True Calling; blogger on Forbes; and host/panelist on CNBC's Power Lunch program