by Andy Shane
Find work at 50plus
Many of us experienced a job loss at one time or another over the course of our careers. It’s happened to me a few times. I’m a marketing communications professional, and when a company needs to tighten their belt, they tend to look to cut the marketing budget first. Cutting costs in this manner is a bad idea, but that’s a story for another time.
When my boss asked if I would jump on a quick Zoom with him on April 1, 2021, I didn’t think much of it. We still worked remotely because of COVID and routinely ‘Zoomed’ multiple times daily. When I saw the head of Human Resources (HR) with my boss, I knew something was up.
I was 53 years old. I was laid off. And it was no April Fool’s Day joke. It was not an easy time to have to start again.
Tips for your job search at age 50plus
As 2022 closes out and we move toward 2023, we hear daily about companies laying off employees. This reality makes for a less than jolly holiday season for many. I am employed now, but certainly remember how I felt when let go from my job in April.
In an effort to try to help others, I recently posted this message on LinkedIn:
“Want to remind anyone in my network that has been laid off/looking for a job – – I am here for you. Please reach out and let me know how I can help, whether it is introducing you to someone else in my network, reviewing a resume, conducting a mock interview, or simply listening.”
Leslie Farin, Publisher 50PlusToday, saw my post and reached out to ask me to write an article with tips for a job search for those over age 50. Consider these tips when starting your job search. By no means is this THE roadmap for finding a new position at this stage of life, but rather the process that worked for me.
My job-hunting roadmap to find work at 50plus
Tip #1 Mindset is critical
I embarked on my job search with a vengeance. You might say I “attacked” it. “Attacking” is important for me. Sure, I allowed myself a moment to grieve, but didn’t waste time wallowing in self-pity. Do your best to stay positive and confident. Know that you are very good at what you do and move forward.
Tip #2 Consider your personal life situation
We are all at different points in our lives. Though we may all be 50plus, we have different responsibilities, family obligations and financial situations. Depending on where you are in your life, you will probably ask yourself questions like: how much longer do I need to work? Do I want to continue on with my current career, do I want to change paths, or do I ‘just’ want a job? How you answer these questions affects the types of position you might pursue.
Tip #3 Use your network
For me, it’s all about my network. You never know who is looking to hire in your desired field or knows someone who has an opening.
Go through your LinkedIn, address book, etc. Build a list of people with whom you want to reconnect and let them know you are looking. As you build your list, think about the positive people who will be your cheerleaders or those that will push you. Now is not the time to let your ego get in your way of reaching out to individuals with whom you may have lost contact – we’ve all been here.
Once you update your network, maintain it even after you’re employed. Use it to help others when you can, and if you are looking again at some point, it will come in handy for you.
Tip #4 Learn to use Linkedin well
Familiarize yourself with the settings on Linkedin if you haven’t already. You can let your network and recruiters know you are ‘open for work.’ Additionally, you can conduct searches with specific companies to determine if any of your first connections work there and reach out to them. You can look at second connections too, meaning if your connection Bill is connected to Linda who works at the company of interest to you, ask for an introduction. Don’t be afraid to ask for help; most people are happy to provide introductions if they are able.
Tip #5 Find local resources
You may not be aware of all the great resources available to people looking for employment and to network, but lots are available nationwide. Ask for recommendations from your colleagues for professional networking sites. The more people you know, the higher the likelihood of finding out about an opportunity.
The most helpful resource I found for my search was careerdfw.org as I live and work in Dallas. This organization boasts a curated site of all things job search related in DFW such as networking meetings, training, speakers, and events.
I highly recommend you attend mock interview sessions. Whether it’s been years since you interviewed for a position or you have more recent experience, getting a fresh perspective is critical. Some groups allow you to listen in and participate. This exercise helps you hone in on the four or five key messages you want to get across in an interview and strategize how to best answer the tough questions.
Tip #6 Update both your resume and Linkedin profile
The resume you used a few years ago may not work today. Things change and you want to follow current best practices. Ask a trusted colleague to review both your resume and LinkedIn profile. As a general practice, I recommend your LinkedIn profile provide an encompassing overview of your experience, while resumes sent out should be specific to the particular opportunity.
The bottom line
Looking for a new job can be difficult at any age, but perhaps a little more challenging after age 50. However, you have wisdom and experience that younger candidates do not, so I recommend you try to apply for positions that allow you to leverage your expertise. Equally important is to stay current and active in your field, and make sure your skills are up-to-date. You want to make it clear in an interview that while you have significant expertise, you also follow the latest industry trends and are eager to learn new things.
Keep in mind that a successful job search requires time and effort. Practice patience and stay positive. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. And once you find your new position, pay it forward and help others in a similar situation. It’s a good feeling.
About the author
Andy Shane is the Media & Influencer Lead at Big Valley Marketing. Appreciative of the help he received while engaged in his recent job search, he strives to help others find their next position. Contact Andy at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Check out our other helpful 50PlusToday articles on Work and Purpose:
“Who’s Gonna Hire Me Now?” Four Tips to Help Create Your Second Act
Your Kids’ Friends: An Untapped Networking Opportunity for Older Job Seekers
6 Job Hunting Tips that Work After Age 50-from a Guy Who Knows
Working for a Younger Boss: 5 Tips for Success
Do you have experience or tips that might help others in their job search at this stage of life? Please share in the comment section below!