Yes, discriminating on the basis of age is illegal. But as any over-50 job-seeker will tell you, it happens all the time, often in ways too subtle to pinpoint. Yet a growing percentage of the population hopes to work past the traditional retirement age. So, in this era of aging baby-boomers, what are the best strategies for landing a job after age 50?
“The key,” said retail hiring manager Tim Applebee, “is helping the interviewer understand that you are the solution to his problem.”
Applebee offers five tips for showcasing your value rather than your age:
Make your resume count – Don’t try to make it “ageless.” You probably look within a few years of your age anyway, so make the most of those 25 years of experience. But point out your ability to apply past experience to help meet new objectives.
Leave history and attitude behind. Your goal is to look ahead. Research in advance to get a real feel for the company’s mission and goals. Fine-tune your resume and interview to emphasize your success with past challenges and how the skills you used can help resolve current company challenges.
Update your presence. Do your best to appear professional and energetic. Take a hard look at how you are perceived by others. Decide for yourself if touching up your hair or updating your wardrobe will present you as more contemporary.
Technology matters. It may not be enough to have a basic comfort level around computers. If you are applying for a sales job, you should know about mobile technology like smart phones and Web 2.0 applications, and how to find hotspots for your laptop. If you are applying for a marketing position, know how to use programs such as Powerpoint, Excel and Publisher and how to start and/or post to a blog.
Network creatively. Don’t hesitate to maximize the network of people you have acquired over the years – or to seek glowing referrals from them. But if you are not already a member, join LinkedIn – a free networking resource that can not only help you tap into new connections, but provides a great way to show potential employers that you’re up to speed on social networking.