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Tips for People Age 50+ Who Are Looking for a Job

Updated on June 15, 2010

It isn't easy trying to find a job today. There are more people than ever who are looking for better jobs, new jobs and second jobs due to the changes that are taking place in the economy. For someone who is over the age of fifty, the competition can be particularly fierce. Like it or not, there continue to remain age biases in the hiring process at many companies. Of course, they can't refuse to hire you based on your age but they can refuse to hire you without disclosing that the reason is because they think that you're too old for the job; it happens all too often. Luckily there are things that you can do to make sure that you are given a fair chance in the job market despite the fact that you're not a spring chicken.

Here are tips for people who are in their later years and looking for a new job:

  • Update your resume. Make sure that you have reviewed modern samples of how the resume should look. Make sure that you have included the right information to show off all of the experience that you have since your years of experience are your biggest asset.
  • Make a list of all of the reasons that you are better for a job because you are older. The fact that you have experience, that you are interested in committing to the company, that you don't have kids in the home so you can work late ... whatever the benefits are they should go on this list. You will include some of these things in your cover letters and others you may bring up in interviews. It's important that you address the issue and counter it with these points instead of just sweeping your age under the rug.
  • Get your tech skills up to date. One of the biggest reasons that people don't want to hire someone who is older is because they worry that this age group isn't tech savvy. You shouldn't just know how to use email. You should have a LinkedIn profile and be capable of using Twitter. You should know what cloud computing is and be able to check your email from a mobile phone. If you don't know how to do these things, now is the time to learn. It will make you more marketable.
  • Get a website. Speaking of tech skills, these days it's a must that you have your own website. It's worth it to hire a web designer if you can't do this yourself. This should be a professional website that says who you are, what your work experience is and how to get in touch with you. If you're really ambitious, you can include a blog about the industry that you work in so that employers can see that you're really serious about the work that you're doing and that you know what you're talking about!
  • Take a class. One of the best things that you can do to increase your job marketability in the business world is to show that you are still on the cutting-edge of learning new things about the industry. Attend a conference, get tickets to an expo or take a community college class about the latest issues in your field. This will benefit you because it provides you with knowledge that you need but it will also look good on your resume and will be something that employers will look favorably upon.
  • Be willing to explain yourself. And do it clearly and articulately. Older employees often have something that they need to explain about their work history. They need to explain why they left their last job or why they were unemployed for the past five years or whatever. Figure out what interviewers are going to ask you to explain and rehearse your answer. It should be an honest and unapologetic answer. (There's nothing wrong with the fact that you took five years off to raise your kids or that you recently started your own business and it failed!)
  • Dress modern but dress for your age. The fact is that your looks are going to matter. You can't look frumpy at an interview and expect to be hired. Then again, you shouldn't go in there dressed as though you are twenty because you aren't. Make some smart choices about your interview attire if you want to get the job. For ladies, you may want to skip the sensible shoes that make you look old and squeeze into heels for an hour to do the interview.
  • Consider cosmetic procedures. This is extreme but it's been shown to work for a number of people. Both men and women who are on the job hunt are investing in procedures like dermal fillers and laser hair removal. This helps them to look a little bit younger and fresher and makes them more likely to get hired. It's not a method that's right for everyone but it's something that has the potential to work if you are interested in trying it out. If you've thought about Botox before, now might be the time. Of course, don't go too extreme because then you'll look ridiculous and it'll backfire on you.
  • Be confident. In the end, interviews always go better when you are confident in yourself. Whether you get Botox to feel better about the way that you look or you create a mantra about why you're best for the job, you should do something that builds your confidence. That confidence will shine through in the interview and it will make employers more inclined to hire you no matter what your age is.

There is definite an age bias in society today. Employers are just as guilty of having that bias as anyone else out there is. You shouldn't let this get you down but you should be aware of it. Do what you can to make sure that potential employers overlook the age issue and consider the experience and skills that you can bring to the job. Be confident in your ability to do the work well in spite of your age and you should be pleased with the results.


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