If you are over the age of 50 and find yourself unemployed or wanting a job change, you may be facing many challenges as you find a job. With a shifting marketplace and constant flux in corporate re-organizing, baby boomers are often the hardest hit with job cuts. Senior executives over the age of 50 may find themselves up against some hiring biases and new technology while finding a job.
Senior Executives Facing Age-Bias
The Star Tribune reports that many senior executives searching for jobs are facing what they describe as “age-bias”. Often potential employers reject prospective employees with too much experience. More experience often means higher salaries. Many professionals with a resume of 20 plus years experience are considered over-qualified. Interview questions asking how would you cope if you had a boss younger than you allude to this age-bias.
Finding a Job after 50 Can Be Challenging
For senior executives who have not been involved with a job search in the last 20 years, the new road map for finding a job can be confusing. Social Media, online resumes, and skill updates are all part of the new process. The best way to navigate depends on the job you seek, but technology and social media have opened a new way of networking.
Reinventing Yourself for the 21st Century Job Search
You know you are qualified. You have experience in the workforce. You are ready for a change. What do you need to do to get noticed and to bravely overtake the hurdles you may be facing?
Here are some key priorities for senior executives over 50 searching for a new job. Set yourself up for success with these tips.
Re-build Your Resume
When reviewing your resume, list just enough experience to give the full range of your skills. Focus on your employment list and on your skills. Other tips that help keep ageism out of the equation, include:
1. Don’t try to hide your age
Lori B. Rassas, author of Over the Hill But Not the Cliff, says that while it is not necessary to state your college graduation date, leaving out dates of employment and just listing skills can be a red flag that you are hiding your age.
2. Focus on the most recent experience
On the flip side, according to Lisa Johnson Mandell, author of Career Comeback: Repackage Yourself to Get the Job You Want, removing key age indicators can give your resume a more youthful look. Listing job experience from the last 15-20 years is ample, and removing lengths of time employed is acceptable. If there are some important achievements you want to share that date back farther, list them as projects instead.
3. List your LinkedIn profile
Include your LinkedIn profile URL on your resume. Often potential employers will go there first. Make sure it reflects who you are and your experience. Use some of the tips below to create a stand out LinkedIn profile.
Social Media is a Must
Social Media is the way to network and share your knowledge with other professionals and senior executives who may be hiring.
LinkedIn for Job Searching
LinkedIn is the social media place for professionals looking for new jobs.Here are a few tips on how to optimize your LinkedIn profile so that it reflects you and your work experience:
- Customize your public profile URL
- Your LinkedIn profile is often used as a “business card”, so the URL should be as short as possible and reflect your name or business name. Use the customizable public URL option in your profile set up.
- List Job skills
- Take the time to list skills that reflect your abilities and that set you apart. You can ask other LinkedIn professionals you have worked with in the past to endorse you.
- Create a headline that catches attention
- Customize your professional public headline to help people understand who you are.
- Make sure your summary reflects you
- The summary allows you to describe yourself, your work experience, and any other attributes you want to share. Use relevant key words in your summary to attract the attention of search engines as potential employers search for a specific niche you want to fill.
Other Social Media
Tap into professional forums and other forms of social media that connect to your industry. Taking the time to network and create a knowledgeable presence is one way to gain attention from leaders in the companies you want to target.
- Post articles on Facebook and Twitter that reflect your professional interests and experience.
- Comment on posts from other professionals and senior executives.
Search out people who work for the companies you want to target and follow them on social media.
- Comment on posts to show you are engaged.
- Write articles on LinkedIn about your profession to showcase your knowledge.
While social media provides a way to network, other aspects of technology can help you connect, build your skills and get yourself noticed.
Update Your Professional Skills with Online Training
Depending on your field, you can find resources for webinars, online certifications, and training. Be sure to research the sources and reputation of the instructors before you commit.
Take on Consulting Work
Taking on some freelance or consulting work allows you to stay in the game. As you continue to work in your field, this could be a way to impress a perspective employer.
Online Job Sites for Senior Executives
The job search has gone digital and many job postings have too. Everything from recruiters to job listings to niche job sites are accessible online. Some sites cater to specific professions while others have a broader scope. Be prepared to upload your resume and send a cover letter electronically.
Hire a Job Coach to Maximize Your Efforts
You may need someone to coach you through the initial phases of getting into the job search. Or perhaps you have taken some of the steps above and you need someone to help you get over a hump and onto the next level. Hiring a quality job coach who has experience helping people get on track is part of a great strategy to land your next best job.
Smaller Companies May Have More to Offer
Smaller companies often have fewer applicants and therefore, less competition. There are often less employees in the organization, so less room for job shifting within the company. The key is finding out about the jobs available. Some of the online job boards may list them, but you may be more likely to find out about them through networking.
YOU Can Find a Job after 50
Most importantly, stay on task and don’t be discouraged. Develop a strategy that gets you out there and closer to your goal each day. By creating a plan and working through it, you can make a task list each day. And if you get to a place where you feel stuck, ask for help. There are so many resources available today. The sooner you tap into them and use them to your advantage, the soo