6 tips for older job seekers
The older you are, the longer it can take to find a job, says Linda McKee, MBA, area chair of organizational behavior and development for the School of Business at the University of Phoenix New Mexico Campus.
That means that although federal laws protect job applicants from discriminatory hiring practices, she notes, potential employees older than 55 may find it harder to find meaningful work. Here, McKee offers six tips for older job seekers:
Age-proof your resumé.
Most workers want to present the full list of their professional accomplishments, McKee acknowledges. But restricting your resumé to the most recent career positions may help you look more up-to-the-minute to a potential employer.
“Having been a hotshot 20 years ago isn’t important,” McKee points out. “Try not to include anything on your resumé older than 10 years ago, unless it’s huge.” If you graduated or attended college, she advises, don’t list the dates unless they’re recent.
Tweak your appearance.
For both women and men, McKee says, a current hairstyle can help project a fresh image. If it’s been five years or more since you’ve changed your hairstyle, she notes, it’s likely dated.
And while wearing comfortable shoes at work is standard, they’re not the right footwear for a job interview. Make sure your shoes are stylish yet comfortable, which signals to an employer that your appearance is important to you.
In addition, McKee notes, it’s key to dress neatly and conservatively for an interview. “It shows you care about getting the job, and it shows respect to a potential employer,” she says.
Get — and stay — plugged in.
Keep your computer skills up-to-date. Free computer classes are available from a variety of sources, such as your local library and online. You don’t need to include on your resumé a list of all the programs in which you’re proficient, McKee says, “unless the job requirements specifically request that you know particular programs.”
One way to help hone and maintain your skills, she suggests, is to launch a blog about your industry and set up LinkedIn® and Facebook® accounts where you can post industry-specific articles you’ve written. Make sure you include links to both accounts on your resumé.
Know the lingo.
If you’re going to use the latest jargon, make sure it really is the latest. Using outmoded terms, McKee says, will date you faster than your birth certificate.
Check your grammar.
One skill that never goes out of style is the ability to write clearly. Make sure you use proper grammar, and spell check every element of your job application, McKee emphasizes. If you need help, check online.
Meeting and talking to other professionals remains one of the best ways to find a job, McKee says. If you attended college, use your alma mater’s career network to let alumni know you’re seeking a new position. And if you were previously employed, call on the connections you made in your last job to keep current on who’s hiring in your field.
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