Over 50 and Job Searching – Cultivating Your Upper Hand

No one really knows when youth ends officially. But if you are over 50 and looking for a job, you probably feel that the rules have all changed. These are the times of downsizing, ‘right-sizing’ (whatever that means) and cost-cutting. If you have ever lost a potential job to a much younger, lower-paid candidate, you might have asked yourself if you’ve reached your expiration date.

Yes, age bias still exists – let’s not be in denial about that. But there are all kinds of biases that exist in the workplace and the matter of age is now less of an issue. Today, many companies are realizing the fact that younger employees are more liable to shift from company to company in an effort to strengthen their careers. But older employees are more likely to stick with their present jobs and have more loyalty. Companies (finally!) have begun to realize that stocking their workforces with younger candidates may not be the wisest thing to do with respect to their retention strategies.

Now, this doesn’t mean that you can shimmy right up to that 20-something Human Resources Director and expect them to just give you the job - it all boils down to what a particular company is looking for at any given point in time. If a company values the immediate cost savings that only a younger employee can offer, then you probably don’t stand a chance. But if you can manage to convince them that your knowledge and skills are a lot more cost effective in the long run, then chances are your age won’t be an issue anymore.

In order to achieve this, you need to take stock of your qualifications and skills. Once you determine what skills are marketable, you’ll probably stand out from all the other candidates.

Tips - Differentiating Yourself From The Masses

• Find organizations that will view your skills and qualifications as appropriate to their business.

• One of the biggest misconceptions about older employees is that they are less technically savvy as their younger counterparts. If you are computer literate, add that to your resume. List all the software packages that you know how to use. If you aren’t proficient with the computer, consider taking classes.

• Networking is extremely important for the older employee in the job market today. Search for former business colleagues, organizations and employees at firms that interest you.

• Always concentrate on your past achievements and not on your age. You can leap over impending hurdles with regard to your age by displaying strong vitality, good work experience and refined work ethics. Make yourself seem like someone who can get the work done and who can bring a lot of profits to the table with your maturity and exceptional qualifications.

The bottom line is that an organization either has to hire talent or develop talent. So, if you are articulate enough about your skills and talents and can show that you are a fast learner, your chances of getting a good job, irrespective of your age, are very high.