By Kat Boogaard, ZipRecruiter.com
No matter who you are, hunting for a job can be tough. But, when you’re over 50? There are times when it seems downright impossible. Technology keeps changing, the workforce just keeps getting younger (seriously, some of these interns look like they’re 12) and there seems to be an element of age bias among some employers.
You have tons of experience and value to bring to the table. However, you’re concerned that you’ll be consistently overlooked — either because companies see you as too expensive, too qualified or too close to retirement age.
Here are a few tips that can help you with more seasoned job seekers.
Tailor your resume
This is advice you’ve heard echoed again and again. Tailoring your resume is absolutely crucial because, while you have a seemingly never-ending supply of experience and expertise to offer, employers and hiring managers still only care about the stuff that’s most impressive and most relevant to the job you’re applying for.
I know — you haven’t worked for 30 years only to touch on the simple highlights in your resume. You want to brag about everything you’ve accomplished so far — including that community service award you got back in 1989. However, it’s important that you only focus on the stuff that’s most relevant to your desired position. The same holds true for job seekers of all ages: The more you can make yourself seem like the perfect fit, the higher the likelihood of landing an interview (and maybe even the job).
When you hear the word “brand” it’s easy to think of a product — something like a sports car or a handbag. But, in the modern working world, you are a brand. To put it in basic terms, branding yourself is a way of identifying your key strengths as an applicant, then broadcasting those through tools like social media (think your LinkedIn profile). It gives you a cohesive identity as a job seeker and makes for easy personal promotion.
Some rules of the job hunt have remained the same for years, while others have changed drastically.
For example, you definitely still need a formal resume to apply for jobs. But, if you show up unannounced at the office to deliver a hard copy of said resume in person? Well, you’ll immediately look outdated. It’s important that you stay current on the etiquette and expectations of today’s job hunt. Don’t move forward with the assumption that things don’t change, because they undoubtedly do. And, failing to keep up to speed will only plant seeds of doubt about your capabilities and qualifications.
Don’t make it an issue
Finally, try not to get too worked up about your age as you’re moving through your job hunt. There will be discouraging moments. But, don’t think of yourself as aged out — think of yourself as extremely qualified. You have years of hands-on experience and tons of refined skills that you’re bringing to the table. That’s not a bad thing, so don’t view it as one. If you don’t make your age an issue throughout your search, chances are others won’t either.