There are successful women everywhere in today’s business world. But women over 50 have something special: experience and a lot of it! Some of the same women are finding themselves on the hunt for a new job after being with one company for most of their career.
At the end of 2015, the Bureau of Labor Statistics released a jobs report that revealed employment in professional and business services are continuing to trend upwards with 27,000 jobs being added in November. Also, over the last few years complaints of age discrimination have been on the decline. Even with good news like this, some women over 50 are afraid that their age will keep them from landing a new job. But the truth is, their years of experience will be valuable to any future employer. By leveraging their age as a strength, older workers can improve their odds of success when on the hunt for a new job.
If you are over age 50, here are 5 tips to help you when searching for a new job:
The advantage that older workers have over their younger counterparts is a long relationship with the people in their industry. Use the personal and business networks that you have developed during your career to help you out. If you are referred to an employer, your chance of scoring an interview dramatically increases. Try and join a network like LinkedIn to bring these relationships online to have an even stronger advantage. To grow your network, you should follow relevant blogs and LinkedIn groups. Lastly, remember to be a part of the discussions online and your expertise will be noticed.
You should maintain proficiency in communicating through email and other electronic mediums. This will alleviate any worries a hiring manager may have of your ability to work efficiently within their company. If you are lacking in your tech-savviness, it’s time to practice up or enroll in some computer efficiency classes. If you don’t have a smartphone, you should switch to one and invest the time in learning to use it. When a hiring manager notices your phone, he or she will see more than just a shiny smart device, they will see a potential employee who can operate and fit in with their company’s culture.
If it has been a while since the last time you were searching for a job, it’s time to dust off your resume and breathe some new life into it. The strategy for writing your resume should be to highlight your experience and avoid details that will make you sound “old on paper.” You could still be quite youthful in your appearance or energy, but sounding too old to a young hiring manager could be enough to keep you from an interview.
Always be honest on your resume. Your goal here is to score an interview, not lie about your age. If possible, remove any work history older than 10 years, your accomplishments in that time frame will likely be the most impressive and the most relevant. Also, remove your date of graduation from your alma mater. In a perfect world, your experience should trump your age, but if you’re serious about getting a job, you’re going to have to do what you can to score an interview.
There are some employers who purposefully search for older workers. In certain businesses, your age will not be a mark against you, but they will actually put your resume on the top of the pile. For example, financial service firms usually have older clientele and prefer older employees who can relate better with their clients. Do some research in your industry. Target positions where being older and more experienced will be seen as a strength over youthfulness.
It has most likely been some time since your last interview. Practice with a friend or work with a career expert who can coach and prepare you. Remember to prepare a few questions of your own for the interviewer to show that you are serious and interested in working there. Avoid talking about personal topics. If you’re nervous, you may let your guard down and reveal personal details such as a health issue that could make a hiring manager reluctant to choose you for the position.
Your job search may require a little more effort, but it’s not impossible. With a little optimism and resourcefulness, your efforts will land you the job that you deserve.