Getting old can be demoralising. This sentiment doesn’t just refer to the physical hardships that may occur; becoming older can also bring about difficulty in securing viable employment. Many business executives with years of experience have lost their position late in their career and have described it as an onerous experience trying to acquire a new role. While experience is often cited as a necessity in the job market, “too much experience” can sometimes be equally as damaging. We will explore if age discrimination is really a problem on the job market, and what steps can be taken to re-brand oneself while job-hunting when you are older.
The facts For older workers who lose their positions late in their career, the statistics are not very optimistic. While it is not true that it is impossible for older professionals to gain a new position, it is certainly a tad more difficult. According to the United States’ Bureau of Labor Statistics, it takes much longer more for Americans, age 55 or older, to find new positions than their younger competition. Some 43.1% of job seekers over 55 have been looking for 27 weeks or longer; this is compared to just 37.4% of unemployed people age 25-54. Those over 55 have also been jobless for much longer: a median of 20.4 weeks, compared to 16.2 weeks for younger job hunters. It is important to note that these numbers don’t count people who have given up looking for work, which is a proportion that is surely much higher among those over the age of 55. These discouraging statistics don’t have to apply if older business professionals go about their job hunt in the right fashion. With a more comprehensively developed job hunt which includes some of the tips below, older professionals can get right back into the fold with newfound employment. Read below for some top tips on how you can increase the likelihood of securing employment. [Tweet “Top Tips For Older Job Seekers To Secure Employment via @Careerintel”]
Reconsider your resume Many job seekers think that they have to take their work history back to their first job out of university. For well-seasoned professionals, this can lead to far too much irrelevant information to deliver to your potential employer. All that is needed is the last ten to fifteen years of your work history. By using this tactic, you will also downplay the “too much experience” factor that may come into play.
Use your professional network Hunkering down on your computer is not the most efficient way to succeed in a job hunt, no matter one’s age. Reading job boards and sending out countless resumes is no way to truly showcase your skills and attributes, especially when this may highlight the “issue” of your age. Personal referrals and recommendations through colleagues, business associates, or former classmates who have existing relationships with where you are attempting to gain employment are always preferable. This tactic can help job searchers to approach companies even before openings are publicly posted- meaning there is less people to compete with and a greater chance to make a great impression. Use every tool at your disposal to succeed.
Be willing to switch roles and industries Often older workers need to adjust their expectations and consider positions outside their area of expertise. Sometimes this means accepting a salary cut, but it can also mean taking a job that is less prominent than your previous one. A former chief financial officer for a technology firm, for example, may need to consider a role as an operations research analyst within the retail industry if they hope to quickly get back to work.
Update your interview attire You cannot change your age, but you can do your part to appear younger and current. When going in for a face-to-face interview, ditch your suit and tie that you have had for decades. Consider adopting a few garments that are conservative but “in fashion.” This attention to small details will not only lend itself to possibly making you appear younger, but it also signifies to employers that you are not behind the times and that you can keep up with ever-evolving trends in business. Perception can go a long way in winning your next position.