A common error many job seekers over 50 (and those who haven’t needed to job search in years, for that matter) make is thinking job searching hasn’t changed much.
Here’s what you need to know when job hunting after 50.
Before embarking on a job search, evaluate what’s important to you. This way you know what is negotiable and what’s not when the opportunity (or offer) presents itself. For instance, do you want to stay local or are you open to a nationwide search? Does consulting or project work interest you? Are you open to travel and if so, how much?
It is important to understand what you bring to the table that might be unique and valuable. Your response is what differentiates you from a sea of candidates.
Are you skilled in building something from nothing? Are you repeatedly brought in to lead turnarounds? Do you have a history for coaching people promoted to positions of leadership? These are the kinds of things that should be called out front and center (or in this case at the top) of your resume and LinkedIn.
3. Make your Resume Timeless
Your resume must read like a brochure, not a blueprint, that focuses on 21st-century experience versus an exhaustive list of everything you’ve done. Focus on your achievements and quantify your results whenever possible.
4. Examine Your Social Proof
Recruiters and hiring managers will check you out online. Make sure that what they see is impressive by having a complete profile, a current headshot, and a summary section that tells the reader how you are ideally suited for your next role. Make sure your LinkedIn’s headline includes keywords that a hiring manager might use to search for talent like you.
5. Money Matters
Research salaries for the positions you’re seeking. Sites like Glassdoor and LinkedIn Salary can help to make sure your efforts are in the right ballpark.
6. It’s Often Who You Know
By simple virtue of having been in the workforce for longer than your younger counterparts, your personal network is anywhere from 3 to 10X larger! Don’t let this invaluable asset go to waste – start reaching out and talking.
Reach out by email, LinkedIn, and good old-fashioned phone calls. And even if it’s been awhile since you graduated, don’t underestimate the power of reaching out to alumni from your alma mater.
7. Be Interview Ready
Beyond researching the company you are about to interview with and the people you will be facing, be sure to dust off your interview skills. This means being prepared for several different interview formats.
Understanding the purpose behind each interview style, and having a plan in place, will give you your best shot at interview success.
8. Start Early
It may take longer for you to land a job after 50. According to a 2015 Forbes article summarizing findings from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, it takes an average of 12 weeks longer for those ages 55-64 to land a role versus than those 25-34 (37 weeks v. 25 weeks). Those job seekers who get an early start, however, tend to be more successful in landing a new job than those who wait.
While Baby Boomers and older Gen Xers testing the job search waters for the first time in years certainly face some unique challenges, they also have many advantages. In my experience, a candidate with a persuasive resume and LinkedIn, a robust networking strategy and sharp interview skills will edge out the competition time and time again.
Virginia Franco is a 3X Certified Executive Resume + LinkedIn Writer, Coach and Storyteller whose documents are written for today’s online skim readers and get interviews. She helps clients all over the world to tell their stories and test the job search waters – often for the first time in years or after deciding to make a career change.