Finding a job is tough these days. But it's even tougher if you're over fifty. Here are some proactive steps you can take to boost your chances for a successful job hunt.
Don't waste much time looking in the newspaper for a job. Today's job listings, resume sharing and application forms are online. So if you're not internet savvy and computer literate, it's time to learn. Public libraries, continuing education programs and community colleges are all likely places to find computer literacy courses. Or get your children or grandchildren to show you how.
If you're already computer literate, review and refresh your computer skills. If need be, take courses in the latest software programs used in your particular industry.
Even if you don't Twitter, and haven't joined Facebook and Linkedin, you should know what they are. Better yet, join Linkedin and post your profile.Then add the link to your revamped resume.
Create a website, or pay someone to build one for you, and post your resume and samples of your work there, particularly if you are in a creative field.
Networking is the Real Answer
The largest employment market is not advertised, counsels Bill Belknap, an expert on networking and a Certified Master Career Coach at The Five O’clock Club, a nationwide career coaching and outplacement service. "If you only focus on internet job leads, you'll be missing the biggest segment of the job market," said Belknap in a telephone interview conducted on March 9,2009. Particularly in a tough economy, companies first attempt to fill positions through their network, via employee referrals, because it saves them money, he added.
Review and Revamp Your Resume
Rework your resume to be sure you are using language that's current with today's market, for example, human resources or hiring manager, not personnel department.
Never try to hide your age by leaving dates or jobs off your resume. And never lie about your age, though anyone who asks directly for your age is breaking the law. "There’s no logic in trying to conceal your age," said Belknap. "In fact, it’s naive to think you can fool the hiring manager. Full disclosure will be required when you get to fill out the job application, so why put yourself at risk? "
Show Off Your Energy
The best way to show your energy is to be enthusiastic, said Belknap. Again, take a proactive approach during conversations to advertise your good health, fitness, stamina and high energy level. If you bike, run, dance, lead hikes, swim six miles a week, run marathons, or enjoy walking vacations, say so if and when the opportunity arises.
Dress the Part
Since your age is fairly obvious just from the length of your career as shown on your resume, does it really matter if you color your hair and buy stylish, up-to-the-minute shoes and clothing for an interview?
"You do need to look the part and wear current style, clothing," advised Belknap. But more importantly he recommends that you "find out how the hiring manager dresses and dress one notch above that." For example, if the hiring manager wears causal pants and a dress shirt, show up for the interview in khakis and a dress shirt and maybe a jacket.
The old adage "when in Rome" is still the best rule, explained Belknap. "Do your research on your target company. Understand who it is you would be working for. Sometimes looking at the company web site can give you an idea of the dress code. But if not, call and ask at the switchboard. 'I have an interview how do most people dress?' Or visit the company or find a relative or friend -of- a -friend who works there and ask about the dress code."
Revamp your resume and review and renew your computer skills if need be. If you're not computer and internet savvy, start taking courses. And network to open doors to a potential new job.
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