5 job search strategies for older workers
If you’re over 50 and applying for jobs, how can you give yourself the best shot at landing an interview? Here’s how can you make sure the “you” that employers encounter first is an accurate and professional representation of your best self:
1. Age discrimination is real, but it’s hard to prove. “A potential employer won’t tell you why you weren’t hired,” says Laurie McCann, a senior attorney with the AARP Foundation Litigation. “You might have a hunch but no evidence.” Rather than dwell on a lost opportunity, you’re better off just moving on.
2. Finesse your resumé persona. Do not include the year of your college graduation or other dates that will broadcast your age. Keep your resumé short and focus on recent, relevant experience. For most industries, you should provide details for only your past 15 or 20 years of experience, says Jason Hersh, managing partner of the recruiting firm Klein Hersh International.
3. Email everything. There is no longer a reason to mail a hard copy of your resumé. If you really want to mail it in, you should also email it, as a Word document or a PDF. Your email server may also hint at your age—consider creating a free Gmail account for work purposes.
4. Take charge of your Internet image. If you don’t have Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn accounts, consider setting them up and updating them. Make sure to create a presence that would impress a prospective employer. Here’s a good social primer.
5. Don’t fudge any dates or make misleading statements. The idea is NOT to deceive, but to make employers realize you are up-to-date in your industry, can make a positive impression as a representative of their company, and are a go-getter—all the things they want in any candidate, but may assume they can only find in a young person.