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Finding a Job After 50
There are many reasons you might be looking for a job after age 50. Perhaps the recession has left you unexpectedly in the market. Or perhaps you are interested in making a change. But you know that, whatever the reason, you face a wide range of challenges. However, CareerBuilder.com has some suggestions for changing those challenges to opportunities.
First, you need to disprove stereotypes. Employers often think that older people lack the energy of younger people. So start by looking fit and energetic. You don’t need to have a facelift or dye your hair, but you should make sure you are in good shape and energetic. Get enough sleep the night before an interview so that you minimize the circles and bags under your eyes. Dress professionally, but make sure your clothes are not outdated. Be comfortable and natural in your conversations, especially with people who are younger than you are.
Employers also often think that older people are too set in their ways and intractable in their management style. You want to turn that around to show that you have experience but you remain flexible. Be prepared to discuss how you have worked with new technologies and how you interact with younger people. Talk about how your management style has evolved and continues to evolve. Be specific.
CareerBuilder says there are four areas in which older workers often do better than younger workers: problem solving, including recognizing problems sooner; people management; judgment; and leadership. Be ready to give examples of how you excel in these and similar areas.
Of course, you have to get an interview before you can tout your qualifications. CareerBuilder has some suggestions for how to conduct your job search, especially if it has been many years since you last looked for a job: Expand your network. After working for decades, you know a lot of people. And, perhaps more importantly, they know a lot of people. Talk to your contacts and ask for referrals to people in your field who might be looking for help. Use tools such as social networking, especially LinkedIn, to make up to 100 new contacts a month until you have a job.
Think small. There are 20 times more small companies than large companies, according to CareerBuilder. In addition, smaller companies often are more appreciative of the experience and expertise you can bring to the table.
Don’t give up. It can take a long time to find the right job, especially in difficult economic times. So keep looking.