10 Job Search Tips for Older Job Seekers
As the old saying goes, with age comes experience. In the case of individuals in the workplace, this experience can often be invaluable to companies in need of someone with advanced technical, professional or simply life skills. This experience, however, can often be a double-edged sword if you’re a job seeker over 50 looking to make a career move.
According to research, older workers can often be perceived as too experienced, priced out of the market due to their salary expectations, or even as having fewer relevant soft skills with today’s focus on modern technology in the workspace. With that being said, we’ve got 10 job search tips for older job seekers that will help you overcome any hurdles related to making that career switch later in life:
1. Get Rid of Resume Dates
Whether you have 10 years or 30 years of experience in your field, candidates with advanced employment history should delete references to dates from their resumes. Not only is this information less relevant as you progress, it can also date you creating awkward HR moments for those looking to avoid any claims of age discrimination in hiring.
2. Limit the Amount of Experience You Display
If you’re over 50 you most likely have a number of years worth of job experience. While all of this together is valuable to any potential new employer, the older the information the less relevant to your current position. Display only 10-15 years of experience and bring the rest up in your interview or mention it briefly in a cover letter or objective statement.
3. Consider a Functional Format for Your Resume
Traditional resume formatting may work well for those with little experience, but if you’re carrying around a few years of positions a functional format may be the better bet. A functional resume lists out key skill areas along with major accomplishments and an abbreviated list of prior positions. To read more about the difference between resume types, be sure to peruse our blog topic on the Three Main Types of Resumes.
4. Fill in the Education Gaps
Noticing that you have a few skill gaps in your resume? Older job seekers may want to spruce up their knowledge set in order to be competitive with more recent graduates. Online courses in computer technology or other position-specific certifications are great for helping to fill in the gaps and polish up an experience-packed resume.
5. Include Accomplishments
Rather than listing out individual responsibilities in your prior positions, consider including major accomplishments of your prior roles. It’s presumed that you have advance managerial or other skills relevant to your position after numerous years. List the items that set you apart based on what you’ve gotten done to make a bigger impact on potential employers.
6. Keep an Open Mind
Hiring managers can often have misconceptions regarding older candidates being set in their ways. In your cover letter and during your job interview, show a willingness to learn and try new methods for solving old problems. A combination of innovation and established know-how will help you make a big impact both in the interview room and on the job.
7. Consider a Career Change
If you find yourself floundering in your current position or going nowhere for a job search in your specific field, don’t be afraid to consider switching gears. A career change can often be just the thing to help you feel renewed in your professional life. Try brainstorming jobs that may have different titles but require similar skills to those you’ve developed. While an entry-level position may seem daunting, it may be just the thing for older candidates looking to start out fresh.
8. Do Volunteer Work
If you’re an older job seeker who is looking to stay engaged but is on the fence about taking on a full-time position, volunteer work may be just the ticket. Community organizations, schools, churches or even government offices often are in need of unpaid or lower paid volunteers to help make contributions. This type of work can be immensely rewarding and can also fill in the gaps for those looking to make a job change.
9. Don’t Get Discouraged
No matter the age, looking for a new job is often a taxing process. Making a switch to another quality position can take a great deal of time and effort. Consider working with a recruiter to let them do the heavy lifting for you. No matter what, keep your chin up and remain positive. Plenty of employers are looking for candidates with advanced levels of experience. It may take just a bit longer to find the perfect fit.
10. Special Searches for Experienced Candidates
If you’re an older job seeker, you may want to try specialized searches designed with you in mind.