Job searching at 50 or beyond can be challenging, but it’s not impossible.
In fact, many older job seekers are finding great success. According to CBS News, employees over the age of 55 snatched up over half of the 4.3 million jobs created in the last three years. Additionally, employers value mature, experienced workers, and they’re concerned about the departure of experienced executives and managers, primarily because of their wealth of expertise and on-the-job savvy. Nearly a quarter of employers were concerned about losing these valuable, skilled workers, according to a recent study by Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc.
Job searching at 50 and beyond involves strategic preparation. Here’s what you can do:
- Dress for success. Look professional, avoid appearing drab and outdated. Wear attire appropriate for the company with whom you’re interviewing and include some colour in your outfit. Stand out! (Check out Interview First Impressions – Your Suit Colour Counts).
- Include younger professionals in your network. Step outside your comfort zone and intentionally include younger professionals in your circle of relationships. You’ll gain a wider network of contacts, but you’ll also stay in touch with the people who do the hiring and learn how to speak their language.
- Illustrate a track record of stepping up to the task. This is where your years of experience come into play. Mine your work history and make sure your professional resume and job interview talking points include examples of your rich history and professionalism. Get started by conducting an interview audit.
- Show your passion and energy. Age discrimination is a possibility for anyone over the age of 50 seeking a job, but you’ll do well to let your passion for your industry and past employers shine through. Employers are looking for energized, passionate employees, and if these qualities are evident in your demeanor and experience, you’ll come across as a must-have candidate.
- Demonstrate your ability to work with younger leadership. One of the concerns that employers often have regarding hiring mature, experienced leaders is their ability to work with and for a younger manager. If your recent work history reveals your agility in responding to and supporting a younger-than-you manager or vice president, talk that up.
- Showcase your ease with younger peers. Another common concern for employers: onboarding a more experienced manager in a startup full of young, energetic employees must be seamless. Discuss projects and work scenarios from your recent past that highlight your ability to get along and work with or for younger coworkers, and you’ll boost your chances of landing the job.
- Don’t count yourself out. As an Executive Career Coach, I see the effect that the right mindset has for job searchers over the age of 50. The first person you might need to convince of the fact that you’re a great catch is YOU! Fortune Magazine reports in “’Too old’ to find a new job? Think again.” that “headhunters are finding that employers increasingly want managers with decades-long track record of success.”
- Avoid the deal-killing word. If there’s one thing you should never do in an interview, it’s mentioning the deal-breaker: retirement. In my role as a career change coach, I advise candidates to never talk about retirement, or their age. I hear from countless employers that many 50-and-older interview candidates readily offer this information.
- Highlight your expertise. You don’t have to be good at everything to impress the interviewer and get the job. Know what you are good at and stick to showcasing those skills. Review key accomplishments of your career, give a great “elevator pitch” that runs through the specific results you’ve been able to get for employers, and promote them well.
Launching your job search at 50+ takes hard work, dedication, a nose to the grindstone approach to networking, and showcasing the right skills. Consider connecting with a Certified Executive Coach to help you accelerate your job search results and land a great new opportunity.
Author: Joanne Loberg of JL Careers Inc. is a Certified Executive Coach and Internationally Certified Career Management Professional. Copyright JL Careers Inc. All rights reserved.
Wishing you much career success!
Certified Executive Coach & Internationally Certified Career Management Professional