I recently read that the number of older people who want to work is greater than the number of available jobs, and that older workers who lose their jobs have a very hard time finding a new one. Like many people over the age of 50, I have a strong work ethic, maturity and the experience that employers need. My challenge is, how do I get employers to see the value of hiring me? — Diane in Ashtabula, OH
It’s true that some seniors are having a hard time finding work, but don’t get discouraged! Many companies are starting to recognize the value of hiring from the motivated, talented and largely untapped pool of older workers.
While a lot of job search advice applies to workers of all ages, there are some tips you’ll want to pay special attention to as a senior:
Think of age as an asset. Present qualities on your résumé and during interviews that employers value, regardless of an employee’s age. These can include experience and expertise, reliability, loyalty, strong work ethic, leadership and teamwork. Be sure to discuss how these qualities will provide value to the employer.
Refresh your skills. Update your computer skills or knowledge about technology by taking a course at a community college. While you’re at it, consider some other skills you may want to update. Some colleges charge no-cost or low-cost tuition fees for older learners. Training programs are also available at no cost at One-Stop Career Centers and at your local Goodwill.
Pursue fast-growing career fields. Increase your chances of finding a job by knowing which occupations are the fastest growing. For example, looking for positions in the health care, social services and hospitality industries, just to name a few, can give yourself better odds of getting your foot in the door.
Get online. If you’re only looking in your local classifieds for your next job, you’re missing out on a large number of opportunities. Websites such as http://www.indeed.com, http://www.quintcareers.com and http://www.monster.com/ are great job search sites and provide tips on job seeking skills and tools. Websites that specialize in older workers include Workforce50, Jobs 4.0, SecondAct Work and Your Encore. Be sure to also visit the websites of companies where you think you would like to work to look for job listings.
Remember that job hunting takes time, so stay positive and be persistent. Commit time each day for job search activities. If during interviews, concerns about age do come up, tactfully redirect the discussion back to your abilities. Remind the interviewer that the stage of life you are entering has many benefits, such as fewer family distractions.
And finally, if you need a little encouragement or support as you search for your next job, give your local Goodwill headquarters a call to learn about free services such as job search assistance, résumé help, interview preparation and training programs available in your area.