6 Job Search Tips For People Over 50

By Arto Baltayan (moneycrashers.com) – 

Looking for employment when you are over 50 years of age can be a humbling experience. Although you have amassed a lifetime of knowledge in your profession, it can feel like you have two strikes against you.

Age bias is something very difficult to prove, and focusing on it can be extremely counterproductive – therefore, rather than becoming angry or depressed, take the proactive route and do something about it. With a few changes to your approach, resume, social media presence, and self-image, you can make yourself the front-runner, even among younger candidates.

2. Update Your Old Resume

The mechanics of the modern resume have changed somewhat in the last several decades. The biggest changes are due to the lack of time on the part of the reader, which has resulted in shortened resumes with information presented in a more succinct manner. Therefore, if you have not sent out a resume recently, it may be time to modernize it.

Modernizing Your Resume

Although the details of an effective, modern resume can vary from person to person, the basics are fairly straightforward:

  • Length. Keep it as short as possible, no more than one or two pages. Employers receive and skim hundreds of resumes, so the easier you make it for them to quickly get to the important information, the more likely your resume will make the final cut.
  • Style. Use common fonts like Times New Roman, and do not use colors. Also, avoid using graphics or images. Unless you are applying for a position where arts skills are valued (such as a graphic artist), stick to a conservative style.
  • Bullet Points. Avoid long paragraphs by organizing your information in bullet points whenever possible. Again, this helps the employer quickly scan for relevant information.
  • White Space. Be sure to leave spaces between blocks of text, and format your resume evenly. This gives it the look of a professional document and makes it easier on the employer’s eyes.

Many professional resume samples are available online. For example, Monster.com features information on making a pleasing, modern resume.

Making Your Resume Age-Neutral

You do not want your resume to be passed over because the employer has a stereotypical view of mature employees. Making your resume age-neutral can ensure that you are not disqualified by misconceptions before the interview has even taken place.

  • Do Not Include Dates of Milestones. Remove your date of birth if you have not already done so. Also, take out any dates that signify milestones unless completed in the last 10 years. Your graduation date or the date you received a professional certificate can be a tip-off as to your age.
  • Eliminate Older Work Experience. You cannot remove the dates from your individual job entries, but there is something you can do to draw the attention away from your age: Focus on the positions you have held in the last 10 years only, eliminating positions you have held at earlier dates. If some of your earlier jobs are crucial to what you will be applying for, include them in as skills in your “summary” section, where a date is not necessary.
  • Don’t Give Too Much Information. Be selective with what you include in your resume, especially regarding clues that might hint at your age. For example, dated words no longer frequently used in your profession are a dead giveaway.

As a final step, reread your resume with an employer’s eye, scrutinizing everything you have written, not just the dates. Make sure there is nothing that will hint at your age, giving the employer a chance to pass on you without even meeting for an interview.

Also, to get maximum exposure, post your resume online. With job sites such as Monster.com, Indeed, CareerBuilder, and even Craigslist, you can post your resume for free and make it searchable so that recruiters and employers can find you based on your skills.

5. Create a Professional Network

In the past, the size and scope of the hidden job market was not very clear. It has always been very difficult to gauge exactly how employers fill open positions. Many written articles state that 80% of all jobs are filled without ever being advertised.

A report by CareerXroads takes a closer look. The most important findings from this report are that 41% of employers fill open positions from current employees, and about 20% of employers fill open positions via employee referrals. That’s less than 80%, but still an extremely significant number. Considering these statistics, cultivating an effective professional network is a good way to tap into the hidden job market. You may be surprised at how easy it can be to set up your own network of contacts.

Leverage Friends Into a Professional Network

The easiest way to start creating a professional network is to identify the people with whom you have an existing relationship. Good candidates include family, friends, past and present coworkers, previous employers, neighbors, old professors, and college friends. You may be surprised at the job leads you can get just by chatting with a neighbor. These acquaintances can be a goldmine for finding work.

There are a number of ways to keep track of and leverage your professional network. Keep a list of names on an old-fashioned Rolodex, or simply add contacts to your Facebook friends list. Ask questions, listen, and let people know about your job search – this is key to obtaining information that can turn into a job lead.

There are many different ways you can grow your existing network. Social media sites, trade shows, conferences, and online bulletin boards (like the forums at Indeed.com) are good places to make connections by joining conversations with people in your area of expertise.

See all 6 Tips and the complete article


10 Job Seeker Fails and The Correct Actions

Watch out – these mistakes could sink your job search. Here’s how to dodge them.

Applying the 80-20 rule to your job search

By David G. Jensen

You may not know it by name, but I’m sure you’ve heard of the Pareto principle. It’s that turn-of-the-century formula by Italian economist Vilfredo Pareto, who famously wrote that 20% of your effort will produce 80% of your results—or, more accurately, that there is a great imbalance between inputs and outputs and between causes and results. It’s remarkable that 120 years later it still explains so much.

Take a look at how retail stores operate: 20% of their goods produce 80% of their profits, and 20% of the sales year produces 80% of their revenue. Car insurance companies will tell you that 20% of their insured drivers cause 80% of accidents. In your home, 20% of the carpet gets 80% of the wear, and in your automobile, only 20% of the energy gets transferred to the wheels (combustion chews up the other 80%). When I come into work in the morning, 20% of my actions are going to result in the bulk of my paycheck. And I’ll bet that 20% of your papers produce 80% of your citations!

Don’t you wish that you could simply be happy with that 80% output and work just 1 day out of 5? The problem with that logic is that we can’t recognize which 20% of our actions are the ones that will lead to the big payoffs. But for you, as a scientist seeking an opportunity to move into a new phase of your career, perhaps there are some ways to use this 80-20 principle to your advantage in the job search.

1) Prioritizing your job search activities

A job search requires a variety of different activities, including researching, applying, and networking. Figuring out how to prioritize them can be a challenge. But in light of the permanence of the Pareto principle, it’s clear that the best approach is to focus on the high points from each category. In other words, don’t throw all your efforts into the networking column, even though that’s often a productive use of your time. And neither should you put all of your effort into responding to job advertisements. Instead, recognize that the job search requires that you engage in a range of activities, and that the returns on your activities will vary. Even though you won’t be able to discern the difference between low-return and high-return actions immediately, it will come to you with experience. As you begin to realize what your “big reward” activities look and feel like, you can then fine-tune how you prioritize your job-search tasks.

Here are the five categories of activities that fill out anyone’s time spent job searching, along with my tips on how to maximize the 20% of action that results in 80% of your success.

See all 6 areas and the complete article

4 Job Search Tips For People Over 50

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 and younger (seriously, some of these interns look like they’re 12 years old), and—unfortunately—there seems to be an element of age bias among some employers who seem to covertly hold, “You can’t teach an old dog new tricks” as their company mission statement.

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.

It’s a predicament, really. And, while I don’t have a time machine to instantly knock 20 years off your age, I can offer a few tips that are sure to be helpful to you more seasoned job seekers. Let’s get to it!

1. Tailor Your Resume (Yes, Really!)

This is advice you’ve heard echoed again and again. But, if you’ve simply brushed it off as something that’s only meant for those younger applicants who need to do everything in their power to present themselves as relevant? Think again, my friends.

Tailoring your resume (I can hear you groaning from all the way over here) is absolutely crucial for you as well. Why? Well, yes, you have a seemingly never-ending supply of experience and expertise to offer. But, guess what? 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—it’s kind of a buzzkill. You haven’t worked for 30 years only to touch on the simple highlights in your resume, after all. 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 golden rule 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!).

4. 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. Yes, I’m sure that searching for a new gig at this point in time has its discouraging moments. But, don’t think of yourself as old or 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 stop viewing it as one! If you don’t make your age a huge issue throughout your search, chances are others won’t either.

Job hunting in your later years can definitely present some unique challenges. But, hey, look at it this way—you’re a seasoned expert with tons of valuable experience under your belt. This is nothing you can’t handle!

See all 4 tips and the complete ZipRecruiter article

5 tips to turn a tricky interview question into a memorable anecdote

Joy Tibbs

Your dazzling CV has gained you an interview, but now it’s time to shine in front of your prospective employer. Knowing you had the right skills and experience to get this far should give you confidence, but what happens when you have to give examples of these in practice? What do you do when you hear the dreaded words: ‘Tell me about a time when…’?

Suddenly, all of your interview preparation goes out of the window. ‘Why can’t they stick to the standard skills and weaknesses question?’ you ask yourself. But actually, this is your time to shine. Everybody loves a good story, and you will have plenty of anecdotes lodged somewhere in your memory bank. So stay calm, take a deep breath and think fast!

Here are some top tips to answering this kind of question:

  1. Keep it relevant. Your interviewer doesn’t need to know what you had for breakfast or what you aunty’s cat is called. Give a strong initial statement, for example, ‘I experienced conflict in the workplace in a previous role, but I managed to overcome it by…’ or ‘There was a time when I struggled to prioritise tasks, but…’, or ‘When I was at university I learnt a lot as I lived with people from various cultures and backgrounds and I have been able to use this experience in the workplace’.

4. Share what you learnt as a result. Perhaps the way you work or the way you handle relationships has changed following this experience. Or perhaps you were promoted as a result of the way you behaved or were asked to take on additional responsibility. Whatever the situation, explain how you developed through the experience.

See all 5 tips and the complete PremierJobSearch article

14 Tips To Connect In Your Community For Your Job Search

Some job seekers see attending organized networking events as akin to meeting their future in-laws for the first time. For some it’s downright frightening; one job seeker told me she hyperventilates before she goes to an event. Wow.

Perhaps you feel similar symptoms, dreading the times you have to attend organized networking events.

You’re expected to engage in conversation about you and the strangers you meet, deliver your elevator pitch, maintain proper posture, exchange business cards, refrain from eating messy food, etc.

Take away the expectations that come with attending a networking event, and you’re left with simply connecting with people in your community. You’re more relaxed. There’s no pressure to perform like you would at a networking event.

Community includes the people with whom you interact: former colleagues, small meet-ups, friends, family, neighbors, soccer parents, PTA members, your hair stylist, the folks with whom you volunteer, your career center staff—essentially everyone in your life.

Am I suggesting that you avoid networking events? Certainly not. There are opportunities these events provide, but by connecting with people in your community valuable opportunities also exist. Some important points to consider when connecting in the community include:

  1. Get the word out. As simple as this sounds, I know people who don’t tell family or friends they’re out of work because of shame and embarrassment. Regardless of how you departed your company/organization, your community has to know you’re no longer employed. There is no shame in being unemployed, as thousands of others like you are in the same situation.

4) Resist the urge to bash. Regardless of how your employment ended, don’t rant about how unfairly you were treated and the circumstances of why you were let go or laid off. If asked about your departure, explain how it happened, but don’t come across as angry. If you’re not past the anger stage, avoid talking about the situation.

10) Carry personal business cards with you. That’s right; even when you connect with your community in a casual way you’ll want to show how serious you are about finding a job. It shows professionalism and helps people to remember what you do and the type of job you’re seeking (related to numbers 4 and 5). Unlike your resume, they are easy to carry.

See all 14 tips and the complete article