3. Be at your best: This may sound a little silly, but look and be at your best. Splurge on a new interview outfit (even if that 30-year-old suit still fits). Be well groomed, maintain your personal fitness to the highest possible level, make sure your health or medical conditions are under control, be well rested, research the employer, and display your knowledge. These tasks should help keep you confident and poised. Try practicing for interviews with a friend or professional coach. Finally, put all concerns about your age and the threat of age bias out of your mind.
4. Be a continuous learner: Whether you are a candidate or an employee, always grow and learn. This is particularly important for your computer skills and knowledge. The abilities to use a computer, send e-mail, surf the Internet, and handle basic applications, such as word processing, are not optional anymore. Inability to make even basic use of a computer is a cause for rejection in all but a handful of jobs—many of which you wouldn’t want. Buy a computer, set up an Internet account, and take lessons. While you’re at it, get a mobile phone. PC skills and a cell phone are powerful ways to show you are technically savvy and not a dinosaur.
5. Seek employment and work in the right places: Many industries and employers value older workers. Search them out and apply there. If you’re already working for an age-friendly employer, do everything you can to stay with that organization. Meanwhile, here are a few places to start looking for companies who hire and affirm older workers:
- AARP National Employer Team: A list of major national employers who have committed to age-neutral practices.
- AARP Best Employers for Workers Over 50: A list of employers recognized by AARP for their exceptional practices relating to the older workforce.
- Web Job-Posting Boards for Older Workers: There are numerous Web sites with job announcements focused on workers 50 and older. These include RetirementJobs.com, which evaluates employers and grants Age Friendly Certification to companies who welcome older candidates, RetiredBrains, Senior Job Bank, Jobs4.0, and Seniors for Hire.
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Bob Skladany is the Director of Research & Chief Career Counselor at RetirementJobs.com