How Not To Act 'Too Old' When Job Hunting
Here are some tips for older job seekers to consider:
1. Update your resume. You cannot expect anyone to hire you when your resume harkens back to the dinosaur age. There are many ways to tweak and transform your resume so you appear to be a modern candidate:
2. Try a new typeface. Georgia, Calibri, Tahoma or Geneva may help give your resume a bit of a facelift.
3. Omit the objective. Modern resumes nix objectives in favor of headlines and bullet points featuring the connection between the job seeker and the position's requirements.
4. Do not write "References available on request." This is dated; it's also pointless. Everyone knows you'll provide references if requested.
5. Include links to social media profiles. Let's face it, you need to go above and beyond to show you're able to function in today's highly technical workplace. If employers see you maintain Twitter,Google+ and professional Facebook pages, you will help them overcome their preconceived notions about older job seekers not using technology.
6. Don't write a list of things you've done. Resumes aren't laundry lists of everything you've done. Avoid outlining experience using "Responsible for____" or "Assisted with____." Instead, focus on your skills and accomplishments. Make a point to highlight how you made a difference to your employers and relate those achievements to your target job.
7. Focus on recent experience. Perhaps your most impressive accomplishment was 20 years ago, but don't feature it prominently on your resume. Make sure you don't do anything to cause employers to think your best days are behind you. Feature more recent accomplishments and if you don't have enough key things to focus on, find volunteer or other opportunities to expand your experience.
8. Network and use social media tools. Don't just maintain social media presences, actively use them to expand your network, demonstrate your expertise and to stay relevant. Make a point to post smart status updates to demonstrate that you know what's new in your field. If you're really diligent, you can become a go-to through leader in your field using social media tools, which goes a long way to overcoming any age discrimination issues.
9. Identify your transferable skills. Many in-demand jobs today didn't even exist several years ago, and it's possible your former job is not going to come back into vogue. Consider if the skills you used at your past jobs are the same skills you need to land something new. Identify new, high-growth fields to determine if there may be good matches for you to do something brand new with your career.
10. Continue your education. If you haven't kept up-to-date in your field, you may need to seriously consider enrolling in some training or certification programs. Before you invest in anything, be sure to do your research to make sure you choose to enhance marketable skills that will make it easier for you to land a new opportunity.
11. Look for jobs at companies looking for you. You may be surprised to learn that there are companies who purposely seek experienced workers. Visit www.retirementjobs.com to see thousands of listings from employers who are targeting older workers. AARP also lists companies who are interested in hiring people who are 50 and older. www.aarp.org/money.
12. Start a business. The real wave of the future is that people will be working for themselves as freelancers or for temporary firms that outsource their talent. Consider creating an online presence to support a new business endeavor instead of looking for a job. You may find that you can successfully land consulting opportunities, even if you've had trouble finding full-time jobs.
Many job seekers who follow these steps do land successfully in new positions and discover new career paths and opportunities they may not have considered. Keep an open mind and think beyond updating your wardrobe or dyeing your gray hair and you may be one of those successful job seekers, too.
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