December 9, 2010

Job Hunting for the 50+ Crowd

Earlier this week, I answered a question from a job-hunter who’s over 50 about finding a less stressful job.

His comment inspired me to write this post as well – tips for job hunters who are older.

Officially, a company in the United States isn’t allowed to discriminate based on age, as long as you’re physically able to do the job. However, it happens often and is difficult to prove unless the person doesn’t know the law and actually tells you that this is the reason you’re being passed up for the job. But no matter how old you are, it is possible to find a job in any industry – just use these tips to get your foot in the door and convince them that age is only a number:

  • Formulate your resume carefully. If you suspect that your age could be a problem, consider listing just the past several years of work experience you have or leaving off years altogether.
  • Use social media. Many times, companies have concerns that older employers are stuck in old ways. Learning how to effectively use Twitter, Facebook, and other social media sites, as well as the latest technologies specific to your industry is a great way to prove you’re still forward-thinking.
  • Leverage your age. Instead of ignoring the fact that you’re an older applicant, highlight it, talking about what your vast experience brings to the table.
  • Talk about the future. Companies sometimes worry about hiring older employees because they don’t want to go through the hiring process yet again in just a few years because the person retires. If you talk about the future, it solidifies that you want to commit to the company, not just find work until you’re old enough to collect social security checks.
  • Look outside the box! If it’s hard to get hired as an older American in the industry you’ve worked in previously, think outside the box. For example, maybe as an older American you don’t feel up to the physical challenges of working as a firefighter anymore, but what about using that experience to work as a safety inspector?

Remember, companies aren’t allowed to pass on you because of your age. If you feel like you’ve been denied a job because you’re “too old,” talk to a lawyer – you could have a case worth taking to court. Again, it’s something that is hard to prove, but it does happen, and you shouldn’t be the victim of unjust hiring practices.

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