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While it is difficult for most United States citizens to find work within a struggling job market, it has proven to be even more challenging for those age 50 and over. Although age discrimination has clearly stopped mature workers from getting hired, there is still hope to overcome bias and prove that you are the best applicant for the job. Senior professionals most often have the majority of experience for a given position as well as several key attributes that make them valuable in the workplace. However, senior applicants are often looked over due to their age, preventing them from demonstrating their skills or leadership abilities. Here are 5 tips to overcome job search obstacles for the 50 and over crowd.
1. Embrace The Modern Era
Although many seniors have stayed clear of learning computer skills, honing those skills could never be more important in this technology era. Properly operating a computer and staying up to date on relevant programs such as Microsoft Office, typing, Adobe, and WordPress should be at the top of the list. There are many online classes that are specifically for older workers to stay in touch with technology and computer skills. As well, important programs, writing formats and resume formats are also crucial. Be sure to check if your resume is up to date with recent work experience and any relevant skills that apply to the job.
2. Utilize Senior Resources
There are a multitude of online websites and organizations that specialize in helping senior citizens with job searching. It would be unwise not to utilize the help that is free and extremely beneficial. Due to a recent AARP study that states over 70 percent of older workers will need to work into their retirement, AARP has been compiling a free online list of companies that are looking for older workers to hire. Make sure you sign up for free job search lists as well as networking groups.
3. Taking A Leadership Role
Baby boomers are coming to the end of their working years, and due to such a large number of experienced leadership employees leaving their respective industries, there is a massive leadership hole left to be filled. As the majority of young and upcoming workers lack experience, older workers are left with far more leadership openings to train up the newer generations. Craft your resume to fit a target leadership position by defining your experience with detail and the specific number of years in a particular field.
In a century with a world of knowledge at your fingertips, fully utilizing the Internet’s social networking abilities is vitally important. Networking truly operates on the catch phrase, “it’s not what you know, but who you know.” The more helpful connections you can make for future work opportunities, the more likely your chances are for landing a job. Networking helps you gain referrals for an upcoming interview that will give you the angle you need to stick out as the right selection candidate for the job.
5. Stay Positive and Persistent
You can be upset towards age bias or discrimination, but you will be far better off focusing on controlling what you can when it comes to the workplace. The key is persistence, maintaining a sharp and consistent work ethic along with a ‘go-getting’ attitude. These positive traits will overcome any negative thoughts that may be in your head such as “I’m too old, or I can’t stay up to date.” With a hard working mindset and the acceptance to learn new skills, you will be able to move forward in the job hunt with confidence and a set of abilities that will truly qualify you for your target job.