Tuesday, July 08, 2008

5 Job Search Tips for 60+ Workers

This post was originally posted on Wiser Worker Blog.

It can be difficult being 60+ and applying for a job. How do you contest the age biases that you might come across? First of all, don't panic. The key to getting and having a successful interview is confidence. Besides there is plenty of evidence saying that you may actually have the upperhand in the job search. Here are a few tips to get you started:

1. Go to the Niche Sites.
Meaning - use job boards that are targeted to your demographic. This shouldn't be too much a problem - you're right here! WiserWorker.com has jobs that you can search and apply to that are specifically targeted to older workers.

2. Update Your Skills & Consider a New Industry.
How good are you with the computer? What other skills do you think employers are looking for? Check out your local community college for a few classes that might help you brush up on some newer skills and increase your chances of catching an employer's eye. A good example was I received an email from someone in the midst of her job search and while she was searching, she was taking a Spanish class to gain a little more competitive edge. You may also want to look at a new industry. Healthcare, for example, is an industry that can't seem to find enough people to work. If you're going to brush up on your skills, why not learn some new ones. Certification might not take as long as you'd think.

3. Start With People You Know.
Contact all the people you've worked with previously, your friends' kids and anyone you think might be a good person to find out information. Be assertive and tell them you're looking for a job, what industry and some of your qualifications. You never know who they might know. Of course with any networking be careful to not to go too overboard but the people you already know can turn out to be very valuable in your job search.

4. Use the Youth and the Internet.
Good references are a given, but you might want to consider having a younger professional being a reference. Someone who might be able to speak about your management skills or ability to work with all ages. You can also create a LinkedIn profile (which is essentially your resume online) and connect with previous or current co-workers and tap into online social networks. You don't have to rely completely on Internet networking - attending Chamber of Commerce events and other in-person networking is important as well. But this gives you an online presence and shows you're tech savvy and ability to be up to date with what's going on now with the job market and the workplace.

5. Highlight Your Experience.
Use your age to your advantage! No need to be ashamed. You have experience and should say so. This provides a great opening to an interview that will allow you to explain how you can benefit the company you are applying to or interviewing with. Use your experience and present it as a positive rather than a negative.

(Sources: How to Get a Job When You're 60 Plus, U.S. News & World Report; How An Older Worker Can Get the Interview, U.S. News & World Report. Photo by welsh boy)

- Rosie Reilman

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