A red alert is probably melodramatic, but I’m sure job seekers in this age bracket probably feel there is one. The bulk of the job-seeking population is currently facing job-search woes that the elderly population has been experiencing for years.
In recent years, I’ve seen that over-50 job seekers have wised up to the fact that age bias is still existent in America’s workforce. Armed with this information, these job seekers are redesigning their resumes so that obvious red flags are no longer present. Employers are finding it more difficult to “guesstimate” someone’s age because these individuals are eliminating older positions, degree dates, and shaving information from the backend of their career; information that generally makes a resume lengthy and less focused. With a targeted and lean resume, an over-50 job seeker is likely to obtain more interviews than with a heavy, all-telling version.
Other factors older job seekers should consider are personal hygiene, attire, and language skills. A person who takes the time to adequately prepare a resume should also take enough time to work on personal appearance and traits too.
Certainly, I’m not recommending that an individual run out and get thousands of dollars worth of plastic surgery, or spend an insane amount of money on a new wardrobe. I am, however, recommending that you take a good look at your appearance. Ask yourself, could a new hairstyle or an attractive new business suit provide an added edge? Willingness to change your appearance is solely up to you. Keep in mind that you’ll likely be interviewed by someone younger, so trimming a mustache, wearing a new pair of shoes or shirt, and using ageless words during the interview, will likely make a substantial difference.
Interviewers will ask loaded questions if he or she wants to determine your age. Watch out for questions, covering the age of grandchildren, possible retirement date, or health status. These questions are considered illegal; and although they’re not jail-worthy, they will give him or her the ammunition to make a tainted employment selection. Contact the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), if you suspect a company of being age-biased.
Staying ahead of the technological curve, and representing this in the resume and during the interview, will allow you to speak to the interviewer using acronyms and jargon that’s familiar to that person. A knowledgeable individual, regardless of age, will impress an interviewer and leave a positive impression.
Keep a positive mindset and you’ll appear young and lively. An optimistic outlook is not always easy, particularly when you’ve gone on several interviews that don’t result in job offers. Support and golden age groups — provided by county career centers and sponsored by colleges — will provide support, a networking forum, and employment contacts that will make your job search flow smoothly.
An over 50 job seeker can also benefit from the help of a career coach. A coach can help identify and resolve employment concerns, as well as, personal and life issues that may be hindering personal development. Filling a much-needed gap, career coaching is becoming a crucial tool for those seeking career transition and advance — even at the youthful age of 50 or more.