A good portion of the e-mail I receive is from readers over age 50 who are looking for work after a layoff. Many tell me they found their last job more than a decade ago, in the classifieds of their local newspaper. Many more say they're daunted -- understandably so -- by the foul job market, the prospect of ageism and the likelihood of being interviewed by someone half their age
All of them worry about the generalizations some short-sighted employers make about older workers. Either they see you as overqualified and overpriced, or they believe you're inflexible and technologically challenged. Perhaps they suspect you're just biding your time and taking up space until retirement rolls around.
We've all heard countless career experts (yours truly included) offer the same old job hunting solutions for workers over 50:
But platitudes will only get you so far. So let's talk about the top mistakes that hopeful hires over age 50 make and how to avoid them.
Telling Yourself That No One Hires Older Workers
I hear a lot of 50- and 60-somethings make this complaint. Yes, older candidates have to work harder to overcome discrimination, and no, it's not fair. But that doesn't mean every employer is hell-bent on shutting out all candidates over 35.
Example: The site RetirementJobs.com lists more than 30,000 full-time and part-time jobs nationwide with "age-friendly employers." Other job sites that cater to older workers: Jobs 4.0, Retired Brains, Seniors4Hire and Workforce50.com. In addition, AARP offers this list of the best employers for workers over 50.
So, please, don't tell me no one's hiring older workers.
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Putting an Expiration Date on Contacts
You've been on this crazy hamster wheel we call "work" for at least three decades now, so you might as well milk the vast contact list you've amassed for all its worth. It's perfectly acceptable to reach out to former employers, co-workers, vendors, classmates and other colleagues you haven't corresponded with in a decade or two. (Searching sites like LinkedIn and Facebook make finding them a snap.) Not only will your peers understand, more of them are likely reaching out to their long-lost contacts, too.
Get Your Free: 49 Benefits To Hiring An Older Skilled Worker.
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