Finding a new job is always a daunting experience. For older job hunters, the hunt poses new challenges. For one, this could be your last job, so you want it to be a good one. For two, popular culture dictates that work is for young people, and older folks are outdated and incompetent. This couldn’t be further from the truth! The reality is most companies see older workers as wise and connected. With all that experience, older employees don’t sweat the small stuff, and can generally solve problems much faster than their young cohorts. So take heart, you’re in need. Still, it’s important to prove you really aren’t a dated old geezer. Follow these tips to prove you’re with it, and you’re sure to land an excellent position.
The reality is most companies see older workers as wise and connected. With all that experience, older employees don’t sweat the small stuff, and can generally solve problems much faster than their young cohorts. So take heart, you’re in need. Still, it’s important to prove you really aren’t a dated old geezer. Follow these tips to prove you’re with it, and you’re sure to land an excellent position.
The resume is still the holy grail of job hunting. Without one, you’re sunk. But after decades of work, it’s a good idea to give yours an overhaul. Stick to the past ten years’ experience, fifteen is acceptable if you really must, but generally, what you did twenty-five years ago isn’t getting you the job you want today.
Keep it to two pages, max, and make it easy to read. In our hurried culture, most employers spend under a minute reading a resume, so keep it visually easy to digest to ensure your experience sets in without any strain. Font style and size, spacing, and organization are all elements to consider. That said, no typos! Inevitably, no matter how fast your resume is scanned, they’ll find the one tiny error, and that’s curtains for you.
Avoid gaps as much as possible
It’s possible you have gaps in your resume. You wanted to retire, then you changed your mind, or you left a job or were laid off without an opportunity to go to. Whatever it is, the best thing to do, immediately, is find something to put on your resume. That means being involved (not lying!). Become a consultant, start a newsletter or blog, find an organization to volunteer with – most employers will consider this an acceptable way to spend time between jobs. Take a class to strengthen skills for the job you want. This is a great thing to do since skills these days tend to be specific thanks to keywording – you want to make sure you check off as many boxes as possible on a hiring manager’s list.
The internet isn’t just for young people, and neither is social media. Even if you’re worried about privacy, you can have an online presence. Having a LinkedIn profile is as important as a resume these days, so create a profile as soon as you can. LinkedIn is a great way to incorporate media you might not be able to include on your resume. That means links to publications, panels you were on, your name in the news, or a speech you gave that’s available online. Make sure to find all your contacts once you make your profile. And have a good, professional, current picture. It’s tempting to put your wedding photo online, but that’s for family, plus, it’s dated, which you are trying to convey you are not!
Find Your Contacts
The first step to getting contacts is through LinkedIn, but then you need to find some in your community, too. Through volunteering or taking classes, or even picking your grandchild up at school, you can network. You don’t have to be pushy, just mention to everyone you know that you’re looking for a job, and what your desired area of work is. And whenever someone says they may know someone, even if it sounds awful, say thank you, follow up, and meet with them. You never know where it will all lead. Saying no does nothing.
Don’t be lazy
It’s not just contacting, it’s finding job openings online, it’s contacting people you don’t know who work at a company, it’s following up, it’s finding ways to get into your desired line of work. Sadly, it’s not sitting on the couch watching Bravo or the Golf channel, as nice as those things may be. After you send your application, and after an interview, follow up. Always thank the interviewer for his or her time that within 24 hours after the meeting.
Be the Total Package
By now you have a legible, well thought out resume, complete with employment and extracurricular experience. You have a great LinkedIn profile with tons of connections, and you have told everyone you know about your job hunt. You spend your entire day working towards your ideal job. And then you get an interview!
Make sure when you arrive, you’re everything you’ve portrayed yourself to be. In other words, look as good as your on paper self. Have a stylish, pressed interview outfit. Do your hair. Shower. But also, make sure you’ve been keeping active. A fit, healthy, energetic candidate is more desirable than a slouched, chubby, dull one. Yes, we need to love the way we look naturally, and by all means, we should, it’s not that you need to go get botox and sit in a tanning bed. Just take care of yourself. You want to look as sharp, put together, and capable as you are. Look the part for the job you want, and you’re sure to land the gig.