Question: Does your age (over 50) become a hindrance in looking for employment? –Denise J., Chicago
Answer: Age only becomes a hindrance if you let it! Older job-seekers bring a wealth of invaluable experience to an organization. Hiring managers realize this and understand that seasoned workers have been in diverse organizations, are flexible with change (contrary to popular belief!) and can see the bigger picture. These are incredible assets that, given the right push, make the older job-seeker a competitive force in the market.
With that, some tips for the seasoned veteran to make him or herself more marketable in the eyes of the hiring manager:
- Make your resume age-neutral. Ditch the dates on your education and consider leaving off positions you held in the very start of your career (say, in the 80s). Bonus: it will trim unnecessary “fat” (pages) off of your resume!
- Go for Google. A Google email account, that is. AOL, Hotmail or SBC Global email addresses tend to direct the reader’s attention to the olden days of internet yore, which is not the kind of attention you want.
- Don’t table temping. Of course I advocate for this, but in all seriousness (and especially if you’ve been out of the workforce for some time), temporary work is a great way to wean yourself back in the workplace.
- Utilize LinkedIn. If you don’t have a LinkedIn profile, get one! If you do, update it! When was the last time you took a nice profile picture or edited the details of your last position? Get to updating, participating in group discussions and posting relevant articles to spark dialogue. With any luck, your profiles views will increase and your inbox will be pinging with recruiters’ messages.
As I mentioned earlier, age only hinders your search if you let it. Seek out the employers who appreciate all that you have to offer and would prefer your experience over the green, freshly graduated candidate. Your age is an asset to the workforce, and the right organization will recognize that right away!
Nurys Harrigan-Pedersen is president of Careers In Nonprofits, the experts in nonprofit staffing and recruiting with offices in Chicago and Washington, D.C.