…seriously, it’s not a joke. But, older job hunters do get hired in Australia and elsewhere. If you believe that all employers are out there to shun you because of your age, then you are probably frustrated after having wasted lots of time for a myriad of reasons; from your salary expectations to your potential lack of flexibility about the kind of work you’re applying for. The list goes on… but most business owners out there really aren’t purposely ignoring job hunters over 50.
I know this because every month my business helps every months between 80 – 120 mature aged job hunters secure meaningful employment and I know that most companies actively seek out ‘grown-ups’ in the shop. They tend to be loyal, more balanced, and reliable. Mature staff bring many intangibles to the workplace from more experience to a healthy professional network of connections (and …I am not talking about the 500 LinkedIn connections). These are not something the upstart cohort can even dream to offer at this stage in their careers.
I wouldn’t be surprised if you smirk at my list, but I’ve seen every single one of the 5 silly mistakes many, many times.
Here are my top 5 blunders that
50+ job hunters who struggle to find work make.
Blunder No 1 Your resume sucks.
Sorry to be so blunt. The last time you presented a resume was probably years ago. I get it. So, you shuffle something together and seriously believe it’s clear to anyone who reads it (all 5, 6, 7 … pages of it) how skilled, experienced and top notch you are. But, most people won’t even read all of it and those that do probably won’t immediately clue into your great qualities.
The key is to rein your resume in to no more than three pages (Australia) and two pages (USA and UK).
Stick to the most recent 10 to 15 years of experience. Avoid giving dates when it comes to decades-old experience and only include jobs relevant to the work you’re applying for. There’s no need for college graduation dates. Employers want a resume that tells a story and that outlines which problems you can solve, not a list of job titles and dates.
Blunder No 2 No LinkedIn
It is 2016, soon to be 2017, and you’re don’t have a LinkedIn profile. If you want to earn proper money and if you want businesses to take you seriously, than this one is non-negotiable.
Step up to the plate and put together a professional profile.
Blunder No 3 You are convinced that you’re special.
We dislike reading pigeonhole job ads or job description that are too narrow, restrictive, or maybe even something you were doing ages ago.
Maybe the pay is $30K less than what you feel you should get for all your experience. That may be true and, I know, that’s hard to ignore. But, perhaps there are ways you can ultimately negotiate for more while securing that job and without losing face.
Employers know when you are looking for a job clearly below your skill and experience level. I recommend that you don’t obsess about the job description so literally. In reality, all jobs are a work in progress. Most jobs are organic. Nothing really is black and white, and if you can bring more to the party than an employer is bargaining for, all the better. Be willing to see the future possibilities in a role that you otherwise might have overlooked. We all get older and we’re (mostly) in charge of our own destiny.
Blunder No. 4 You look bad.
People, I know this one is a touchy subject, but if you aren’t taking care of your appearance, get with it. The harsh reality out there is that people will make judgements about you based on how you present yourself, regardless of how politically incorrect that may be. When you’re presentable, it sends the message that you’re up for the job. You reflect a level of professionalism and energy that hiring managers want to be around. No one is expecting a cross-fit, Channel swimming, marathon running superstar. You just need to present well. You’re selling the entire package of who you are, not just your work experience and talent.
You know the drill … get a new interview outfit, a haircut, a manicure, and all that other superficial stuff. Always try to impress when you’re looking for a job.
Blunder No 5 You have ‘tuned out’ intellectually.
This one is so easy to spot and yet so many job hunters believe it’s irrelevant. Ask yourself when is the last time you challenged your brain to learn something genuinely new? (and, guys, I am not talking about simply watching online TED Talks) If you can show a hiring manager that you’re taking on or offline courses, participating in workshops, or that you are working toward a new professional certification, it shows that you are keen to learn new things and that you have drive.
It’s smart to pay attention to the specific requirements of the jobs you’re applying for. If you don’t have the prerequisite proficiencies, consider if you can work on adding them to your skill set. Sure, like so many out there, you can probably dance your way through an interview by saying you are a fast learner, but you need to get that interview in the first place. I highly recommend that you identify where you are lacking and invest some time and effort in gaining those skills. You’d be surprised at what you can learn through on-line courses in your own time.
Smart job hunters, and particularly smart 50+ job hunters, are self-aware, they actively seek feedback and help, they come prepared, and they simply ‘get with it’. Enough said. It’s your choice, just remember to hunt wisely!