Job Hunting Tips for the Fifty-something Applicants

older-job-seekerWhen companies downsize or merge, older employees often get laid off first.  Many companies won’t hesitate to get someone younger to take over the position held by a senior professional because of money issues.

According to the AARP, workers aged 55 and over have an average length of 54.2 weeks of unemployment. This is higher than the 35.9 unemployed weeks of other job applicants under 55.

In a market full of both young and senior professionals, a senior job seeker has to stand out from others to get a better chance of being hired again. Age might be just a number, but many employers would look at this negatively.

Here’s How You Can Make Your Age an Asset Instead of a Liability in Job Hunting

Strategize, Develop a Plan, and Identify Senior-friendly Employers

Many people would say it’s a good idea to send out resumes to all possible employers to increase chances of being hired. Well, not really because not getting any feedback despite sending hundreds of resumes can make you feel rejected.

Identify employers that need your specialties and skills, preferably organizations that won’t hesitate to hire you because of your graying hair. Be clear about the skill set and professional experience that you have, then look for companies that might be interested in such.

There are some industries that are more senior-friendly than others. The financial services industry is one, since more clients would want to deal with a person who has a good understanding of older people and their finances. Other service industries that cater to an older clientele include healthcare, retail, and financial planning. Although an industry shift sounds difficult, it can prove to be a good choice later on.

Beating Tech-Savvy Individuals

Younger individuals tend to be more tech-savvy. Older job seekers have to catch up with the trend to stand out. Highlight continuing education or post-graduate degrees that you have taken in the past.

Investing in education or training shows a lot about a senior job seeker. It shows that he is trainable, despite his age, and that he is willing to learn new things, including technology. That’s a good sign for employers.

Adapting to changes in technology by trying out new things and keeping up to date with computer and mobile technology can help a senior professional stand out in a pool of job seekers.

Overcoming the Age Bias

Consider trimming your résumé. Highlight the past 10 to 15 years of experience, as opposed to listing down the past 30 years or so. Better yet, have a professional resume writer create a tailored résumé for the job you want to pursue. This way, your résumé could highlight specific achievements, specialties, and education related to the position you are targeting.

Employers aren’t interested in the entry-level jobs you held, especially if later positions are more relevant to the job you want.

Lastly, market your age as an asset. Overcome this bias by marketing skills that enable you to train and develop younger people. Some employers look into senior professionals for training younger and less-experienced employees, so highlight any experience you have working or managing younger colleagues.