Lately I have read a number of articles on how to conduct a job search after age 50. To put it simply, it’s hard! But what if you are over 60? If you think job search after 50 is hard, try after 60. As one adds years to their career, it becomes more difficult to change jobs or be re-employed after a reduction. While challenging, it’s not impossible.
You have to be smart on how you conduct your search, here are eight missteps that older job seekers make.
1. Kicking back and taking a break
Sure it sounds nice to take a couple of weeks off, relax, do those chores you’ve neglected,but a couple of weeks turns into a month, then a couple of months, then suddenly you’re stale and not as marketable. Stay busy, do consulting, part-time work, volunteer, blog in your field. One criticism of older workers is they lack energy, show you don’t fit that stereotype.
2. Using dated emails
Do you still have that AOL email you got 20 years ago when you got the free promotional disk in the mail? If so, you are marked as dated. Get a fresh Gmail or Outlook email address for your job search.
3. Missing a digital presence
94% of recruiters use LinkedIn as a recruiting tool. If you don’t have an up-to-date profile, you are invisible to most of the world. At the very least you are stereotyped as the typical older person that isn’t in tune with modern technology. Have an updated picture, strong summary and results based accomplishments in your position descriptions. But, just having a profile and a couple of hundred connections isn’t enough. Set up a systematic way to create real, physical connections with each of them. Your goal should be to have lunch, coffee or drinks with at least one person every day. This is where you will find your next job, through your connections.
4. Lacking salary flexibility
Know what you are worth in the marketplace. Much of the time, your previous salary was influenced by the tenure you had with your previous employer. Every year you got that 3% raise, you might be priced above the norm in your industry or profession. Remember that if you are competing for a job that requires 10 years’ experience your competition is probably in their early 30’s. They haven’t built up that series of increases that got you to where you are. Realize that the employer is looking for the most economical solution to their problem. Don’t under value yourself, but understand what your job pays in the open market. Everyone you are competing with is smart, what you bring to the table is wisdom, use that to your advantage.
5. Overlooking contacts
Network, network, network. You never know who might be in a position to help or introduce you to someone who can. Dig deep into your network to connect with people you may have worked with years ago. Even parents of your kid’s friends can help. Your goal should be to have lunch, coffee or drinks with at least one person every day. This is where you will find your next job, through your connections. (I know I am repeating myself.)
6. Overdoing your resume
I know you are proud that you were the youngest person to have a million dollar sales year in 1982, but that is irrelevant in today’s market. Keep your resume to two pages, show strong results based accomplishments in your positions and don’t list jobs over 10 to 15 years old, those jobs are irrelevant to what you are looking for today.
7. Ruling out jobs
The job posting is a wish list of what the employer is seeking. In reality only a few of the requirements are essential. If you meet most of the requirements, you should go for it. Highlight your experience that matches the requirements and show how your contributions made a difference.
8. Waiting for the perfect job
Don’t get stuck expecting to get exactly the job you left. Be flexible in applying your transferable skills. Look outside the box. Find a way to add value in a fresh new role. It can add years to your life and career to be a lifelong learner. Step outside your comfort zone and take a chance on something new.
Don’t let these 8 hurdles get in your way, break through to a new beginning.
By the way, I know this is titled “Job Search After 60”, but the advice works for all ages. Whether you are 60 or 30 it is good advice for managing your career.
Rick Christensen: Director, Career Transition Practice
Rick has been a career consultant for over 20 years, serving a very broad-based and diverse clientele. His specialties include effective group facilitation, one-on-one coaching and consultation at all levels including senior executives.
Rick’s passion is coaching individuals through career transitions, developing career management strategies and in identifying and sharpening competencies to open doors to new opportunities. His efforts have assisted thousands of individuals achieve their full potential.