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May 14, 2014

Job Hunting After 50? Six Tips to Avoid Looking Out-of-Date

Dollarphotoclub_50457943You’re as capable as ever, with experience no 30-something can match—but you remember when classic rock wasn’t classic yet. How do you make sure employers see you for the valuable, up-to-date team member you can be?

1. Be visible and active online.

You need to have at least one or two active, current social media profiles. For jobseekers, LinkedIn is probably the most important—it’s a great way to showcase your skills and show employers that you stay up-to-date on trends in your industry

And, yes, they’ll be checking you out—so make sure you have a good profile pic, join some industry groups, and share links to relevant articles.

Oh, one more thing—1999 called, and it wants its email address back. If you have a cutesy nickname or an address at AOL or Hotmail, you may as well tell employers you’ve never heard of the internet. Get a Gmail address with a name as close to your own as you can.

2. Work your network

Another reason to get active on LinkedIn is that 80% of new hires are made by people hiring people they already know or are acquainted with. And where do they find each other? Online.

If you’ve targeted a company as a likely landing spot, search for people you know who work there—or people you know who know them. Ask for an introduction. Connecting with people online doesn’t just get you in the door—it shows that you know how to work your online connections as well as any 28-year-old.

3. Customize your resume.

Once upon a time you printed up 100 resumes at a time, but here in 2014 there’s no excuse for sending the same resume to every employer. Show you’re focused on their specific opening by tailoring your resume to that opening:

  • Change your title to match the job description.
  • Highlight qualifications that fit the listing, and remove those that don’t.
  • Edit your job history to emphasize relevant skills.
  • Just for good measure, put the employer’s name in your document name—instead of JonesResume.doc, try JonesXYZCorp14.doc.

4. Do your homework.

These days, there’s also no excuse for not being an expert on every company you interview with. From the comfort of your kitchen table or neighborhood café you can research every aspect of their business:

  • What they do, how long they’ve done it, and who they do it for.
  • Their major competition.
  • Their stock performance (if they’re publicly traded).
  • The background of the people you’ll be interviewing with.

Today’s employers expect interviews to be a two-way street. Demonstrate that you want to know them better, and they’ll want to know you better.

5. Look young-ish.

Okay, it shouldn’t matter, but it does. If you come across as old, even the best-intentioned employer may subconsciously associate you with every negative aspect of being old. They won’t tell you you’re too old for the job, but they’ll think it.

So knock a few years off that first impression. Get a new haircut (and maybe dye some of that grey). Buy a new suit. Wear glasses? Find more modern frames.

And if you don’t have a smart phone, get one—and learn how to use it. Nothing says “out-of-date” like technology from 2005.

6. Work with the right staffing agency

Wouldn’t it be great if the ideal job could somehow find you? Staffing agencies like WunderLand make that happen every day. Employers hire us to find people with specific skills and qualifications, and we don’t care what the last two numbers in your birth date are.

If we know your skills and personality match what an employer needs, we’ll introduce you as the most up-to-date candidate we’ve ever seen!

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