by Stuart Rosenfield
You’re well over 50 years old, and the company where you thought you’d retire just told you services were no longer needed. It’s a scary situation – but I’ve been there – 3 times.
You quickly apply for jobs, have some interviews (if you are lucky), but get passed over for someone who is younger and cheaper and whom companies feel “they can groom” into higher positions in the future.
It is frustrating, and not uncommon. But you can find a job, and even a new career – even when you are close to 60.
Below are 6 things I used in my job search to land jobs in 8 weeks or less:
- Network – Over 75% of the open jobs out there are filled through networking within a company to get to the hiring manager or find a hidden job. Being over 50, you probably have hundreds of contacts – former colleagues, former bosses, and friends who are still in the workplace. Contact them and tell them what you are looking for.
- Get your Linkedin profile up-to-date – LinkedIn is by far the best networking tool out there. Make sure your information is accurate and current. There are several online sources that can help you create a killer LinkedIn profile. Since you don’t want to advertise your age, don’t put anything over 20 years old and definitely don’t put any graduation dates (unless it is relatively recent). Do upload a profile picture, but make sure it is professional and flattering.
- Update your resume – One mistake older job seekers make is putting everything they have ever done since college on their resume, and then submit a 3-4 page resume to a prospective employer or recruiter. No one cares what you did in 1985 or 1992. Don’t put any information older than 20 years (15 preferably) and don’t put down any graduation dates (unless it is relatively recent). If the company asks for graduation dates for an application or in degree verification, then you can give it – but you don’t need to proactively advertise that you graduated during the Carter or Reagan administrations.
- Think outside the box – You have accumulated skills that many millennials don’t have. Promote them to employers. They may not want to entrust a million-dollar project with a 25 year old. Don’t be afraid to work a contract. Contracts often lead to full time work.
- Don’t be afraid to take less money for a good opportunity – Yes, that is a tough pill to swallow. You’ve made well over 6 figures for many years. But think about your current situation. Your kids are most likely near or out of college. You house is paid off or close to being paid off. Most likely, you can now afford to take less because you have less financial obligations. You are shooting to make it to Medicare or retire on your terms. You can afford to take less – but only if you feel it is a good opportunity and will be relatively stable in an environment you can thrive in (e.g., if your co-workers are all 20-somethings, in flip flops, and do work on their laptops in bean bag chairs, it might not be the place for you).
- Persevere and work hard at finding a job – Looking for a job is harder than having a job. Being a Baby Boomer, you have a work ethic the kids don’t. Work at looking for work every day. You may not have the body of a 35 year old, but you need to have the attitude of one. Show that you are hungry, enthusiastic, and that you can outwork, outthink, and outsmart anyone else they are considering.
There are no guarantees, and frankly, you will get a lot of virtual doors slammed in your face (if they even answer the door). Don’t give up. You will find work, and it may be in a totally different field. I was in high tech for 35 years for large multi-national companies. Now, I work in Building Products for a 100-person company. I love coming to work, I am meeting new people, and learning a whole new industry.
Good luck in your job search.
Stuart Rosenfield, from Plano, Texas, successfully reinvented himself 3 times having been laid off as an older adult. It was tough, but he did it and is now happily available to help others in the same boat. Contact him today. for help in your job search.