- "I'm 60 years old, and have worked in the tech sector as a programmer, network manager, and hardware integrator for over 30 years. I've been able to re-train myself every three years or so for whatever the current technology was. Along the way, I picked up a Masters in Information Systems from RIT, and wrote and managed grants for NIH. My problem this time, appears to be I'm too old. Nobody seems to want to hire me for a full-time position, even at a lower level. How can I make myself attractive to potential companies so that they ignore the gray hair?"
- "No one will want me. If they Google my name, they can see my age. I will never get hired."
- "I have so many skills but I am just not getting hired. What can I do?"
Unemployment numbers are down, but the words above are often what I hear from the older job seeker. These words express frustration and discouragement. The older job seeker has often not had to look for work in 15, 20 and, in some cases, 30 years. The job search process has changed and the older job seeker must engage in new approaches to finding a position.
While the process can be frustrating, this can also be a time of renewal and excitement for new possibilities. Skills, expertise and knowledge can be transferred to new opportunities. Finding the opportunities can be the challenge.
What to Consider
There are several tips for the older job seeker to consider:
- Explore what you want to do at this point in time. Do you want or need to continue working full-time or perhaps do you want to find two part-time jobs that you might find enjoyable? This may be a time in your life that you have options for work. Working with a financial planner can help sort through your financial picture now and in the future.
- Identify your transferable skills. How can you apply these to other industries? If you have been in operations and have successfully led teams, what other industries operate from a team perspective?
- Ask a professional to review your resume. Are you using a format that is easy to read and focusing on recent accomplishments?
- Use social media as a means to network. LinkedIn is a professional network for job seekers. There are other ways to follow companies you are interested in such as Twitter and Facebook.
- Volunteer or ask for projects at organizations at which you are interested in working. This gives people a chance to get to know you and opens the door for possible future employment.
- Consider starting a business. Do you have an expertise that you can share with others? Do you have a hobby that you would like to turn into a business? Do you want to buy a turn key operation? These can all be viable options.
Finding new opportunities as an older job seeker can be a challenge. Being open to new avenues may lead you to enjoying work options that you never thought possible. These are the years to use your skills and expertise and enjoy your work.
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