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Advice to help those over 50 in their job search

Advice to help those over 50 in their job search

Searching for a job when you are 50 can be a difficult thing to do. With all of the changes in technology, is your education and past-work experience going to be enough to get you the job? Luckily for you, this is everyone’s question when applying for jobs, no matter their age. The important thing is to highlight your experience to help you get a leg up in the job market. Experience matters, so don’t let it be a hindrance.


Do

Do promote your experience

Don’t be afraid to celebrate and promote your experience. You have something that younger people don’t - battle scars. You have something text books don’t teach - practical living experience. This is incredibly valuable to companies. You should be proud of your accomplishments and promote them to their fullest extent.

Do take pride in your work

Some people in their fifties downplay their work; they seem apprehensive to tell people how they have met and overcame challenges throughout the years. Self confidence is a huge selling point for any employer. Take pride in the work that you did.

Do make a connection to today

Part of the problem with people in their fifties is that they shy away from making relevant connections to today’s work environment. The challenges that you overcame in 1980 and the lessons learned are very transferable to the 2013. Make those connections and don’t be afraid of being labeled old.

Do emphasize your mobility

With experience comes mobility. Be it moving from job to job in terms of promotion or in terms of geography, each experience has offered you a new perspective. That new perspective is a very sellable characteristic.

Do promote your education

Another faux pas with people in the 50s is that they are worried that their education is not relevant, after all they graduated before computers and cell phones. This is not true. A physical degree is one thing but the continual learning is another advantage that you have over the people in their 20s.


Don't

Do not be negative

Older workers seem to feel left out or undesirable. They say, “I am too much of an expense for the company,” or, “I only know yesterdays technology.” It is time to stop making excuses about who you are and start selling the positives. Never assume you know what the company is looking for, and always be confident about what you have to offer.

Do not fudge your resume

The reality is that you have 30 years plus of work experience. Don’t undersell those years of hard earned experience. Highlight the main points on a resume but never delete them.

Do not be someone else

Too many older workers pretend to be someone else, so much so they change their language and start saying “cool” every second word. Companies will want to hire you for who you are, not as someone you think the company wants you to be. Stop pretending to be someone you are not.

Do not despair or be bitter

The job market is very competitive. You are bound to be turned down for a job, so don’t take it too hard. You must carry on. Ask for the reason why you didn’t get the job plug away and for goodness sakes don’t blame your age as the reason why you didn’t get the job.

Do not be too creative

Some older workers think if they redo their resumes to look modern (funky fonts, colors, etc) they will come across as a modern, younger thinker. A resume is still a piece of paper that needs to be read without too much noise, so don't get too funky. One area of change with the resume that older workers should embrace is the arrival of the video resume. Create a video resume to compliment your paper resume, it will definitely give you a leg up on your competition.


Summary
Jumping cartoon

Experience is a very attractive selling point for people over 50, so promote your life experience as you look for work. Don’t get too creative with your resume and definitely don’t embellish your past work experience or education. That fact that you are 50 gives you a leg up in the workforce if you use it to your advantage.


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John FrancisPresident

21 years recruitment and assessment experience, president and managing partner of ACareerJob and Theonera Inc., Human Resource professional association member....

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