There are many laws worldwide banning ageism in the workplace; yet, people over the age of 50 often find it hard to land a great job.
Competing with a younger workforce can be challenging, but you need to remember that you have something valuable to offer — experience.
You shouldn’t be intimidated by the job market. Hard work, dedication, and expertise are still the most important attributes in an employee. You should simply know where to look and how to present yourself in the best possible light.
So here are some tips to help you land your dream job after the age of 50.
Update Your Resume
Depending on the last time you had to look for a job, your last resume update might have happened years ago. A lot has changed since then, and if you want to even stand a chance of getting noticed, you need to make some changes.
You might have years and years of professional experience, but as a rule, you should only include the last ten to 15 years or so. No one wants to read about each and every job you held, starting from an ice-cream boy. You may also choose to filter your list to include only experiences relevant to the job you’re applying for.
Also, since most recruiters use an ATS system for resume screening these days, you need to make yours ATS-friendly. So use keywords from the job description and make it highly structured.
Learn Relevant Skills
If you want to stay highly employable, your age absolutely won’t be an issue if you make an effort to update your skills. You may miss myriads of opportunities just because you’re not familiar with the software listed in the job description, even though you have all the other necessary qualifications.
Don’t let yourself get intimidated by new technologies or skill requirements. Today, you can learn anything from the comfort of your home with online courses. If you want a more personal approach — someone to mentor you — you can even consider corporate coaching.
Keeping your skills up-to-date is the single most important thing to do if you want to find a great job you’ll love. Show them that you’re tech-savvy and that you can offer everything others can, and more (thanks to your rich experience).
Make the Most of Your Previous Experience
Young people often complain about companies always looking for years and years of experience. Well, you have that! It is your best asset and one you can use wisely in your interview.
Don’t be shy when talking about the ways you can help the organization and the unique things you have to offer. Your knowledge and expertise will be highly valued as younger employees can’t offer that.
You can even help mentor younger, less experienced people in the company who are just starting out. Young employees are often unprepared for the working world, and great mentors are difficult to find. Having an older, wiser colleague to mentor them will be a godsend.
Use Your Network
If you have a wide social and professional network, be sure to spread the word! Your friends and colleagues know you well, and they can sing your praises. Chances are most of them are mature, professional people with business networks of their own. If there’s a great job opening, and one of them learns about it, you may get an unmissable job opportunity.
What’s more, these people know you, your work ethic, and your skills, and they may think outside the box while helping you land a great job. You may be focused on your target profession, but if there’s a similar opening somewhere, why not give it a try? You may have the skills necessary for a position you haven’t yet learned about.
Be Present on LinkedIn
LinkedIn is an incredibly useful social network that can improve your job searching efforts significantly. When you get yourself online, you’re out there, and you never know who may notice you.
This business-oriented platform provides you with an opportunity to present yourself as a qualified professional, extend your business network, and find job opportunities you wouldn’t be able to find elsewhere.
Set up your profile for best results and mingle. If you see an opening you’re not interested in or qualified for, but you know someone who is — recommend them! They might reciprocate and land you a phenomenal offer.
In short, LinkedIn is a great way to broaden the pool you dip in and show potential employers that you mean business.
Get Ready for the Concern You’re Overqualified
One of the biggest concerns companies have when deciding whether to hire a senior person is that they’re overqualified for the job.
If the question of overqualification comes up, be ready to reassure the interviewer. Even if it doesn’t come up, you should make it known that you know what you can expect from the job and that you’re satisfied with the terms.
You can explain why you’re excited for the job and how you’re a perfect fit. You may also mention that the role will enrich your experience and allow you to explore your potential in other fields (if you’re applying for a job in another sector).
There’s also the question of compensation. They may be worried that you would ask for way too much money. If this is not the case, be sure to mention that the salary isn’t the most important factor in your decision.
Find a Cultural Fit
Finally, not all organizations will make you feel like you fit in. Sadly, some young startups and hip tech companies are not that open to employing senior workers. Even if they do hire you, you may feel out of place on a paintball team building.
So before you apply for any position or answer an offer, make sure to check them out on social media and other channels. See how inclusive they are and what their company culture is like. You can even enquire about these things in the interview.
Maybe you would thrive in a more traditional setting, but it might not be what you’re looking for. If you’d prefer the company of laid-back youngsters, by all means, go for it!