Top Job Hunting Strategies For The Older Job Seeker
Job search savvy for older candidates: tips and hints for the 50+ crowd
Job seekers older than 50 years old have a whole host of reasons for diving back into the employment market. Some are ready to put their accumulated experience to work in a new role, while others want to do more personally meaningful work. A few empty nesters are returning to a career after decades of child-rearing, and others may want to shift gears as they begin to prepare for retirement.
If you’re a 50 plus job seeker, know that you’re not alone: labor statistics say that this age group in 2010 constituted 24.7 percent of the workforce in North America, a number that is expected to surge over 28.7 percent by the year 2020. But, whether you’re fulfilling a long-held dream or bolstering your retirement fund, the challenge of forging a new career path later in life can be daunting.
Search strategies that highlight your unique strengths
Many older job seekers fear that they might be passed over in favor of younger applicants. But, according to Erik Olsen, President of the AARP, many of the demographic challenges in the job market today tend to favor older workers.
With many employers expressing concerns about the experience, stability, and loyalty of their younger staff, a growing number of companies are actively soliciting older candidates, and that’s good news for those who may still harbor lingering doubts about their ability to land a new role in today’s cutthroat job market.
Still, it’s always important to devise a job search strategy that will help you optimize your unique strengths as a candidate. Use these guidelines to help you get started.
Stake out companies that offer the most favorable terrain
You can save yourself a lot of time and effort by focusing your job search on companies that have a proven track record of actively recruiting workers from many age groups. Are there a number of older workers already on staff? Does the company’s website or recruitment materials specifically reach out to a wide range of candidates? If so, put them on your short list of possibilities.
Choose methods that emphasize your skills and abilities
Choose a functional resume format that focuses on the skills and experience you’ve gained, rather than using a chronological approach that focuses on your dates and duration of employment.
Demonstrate a willingness to learn
Some hiring managers are concerned that older workers will have a hard time navigating new and emerging changes in the workplace. Emphasize your experience with an openness to technology and your ability to learn new things.
Seek out the right organizational culture
Let’s face it—there are some companies in the hospitality industry that place a high premium on youth culture. For that reason, it’s probably best to avoid hip, trendy eateries and nightclubs, and focus your efforts on brands that are seeking to convey an image of elegance, tradition, and formality.
With a bit of research and planning, it’s easy to land your dream job at any age. Just be sure to target companies that value experience and stability and whose staff represents a broad cross-section of different age groups. You’ll be moving on to the next phase in your career before you know it!
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