Job Hunting Tips for Seniors

Many seniors 55 and older have been forced to look for new employment due to lay-offs, or worse, have had to give up retirement to replace their dwindling savings.
By: Jobs By Fax, Inc.
June 8, 2010 - PRLog -- We all have the expectation that our work life will be relatively settled and financially secure by the time we are in our 50‘s.  However, the past few years have shown that many seniors 55 and older have been forced to look for new employment due to lay-offs, or worse, have had to give up retirement to replace their dwindling savings.    Finding a job in this economy is tough enough without the added disadvantage of being the oldest candidate at the interview.

A common mistake that 55+ job hunters make is relying too heavily on their decades of experience.  What hiring managers want to know is what you can bring to the table now.        And, just as importantly, that you are adaptable to new ideas, differing ways of doing business at a new organization, and change in general.  The stereotype of seniors is that they will likely be very reliable, but tend to be stuck in their ways.

Throughout the interview, take the opportunity to let the hiring manager know that you are on top of new advances in your industry, you are familiar with the new technology, and that you are open to learning new skills.  You may now be reporting to someone who is much younger than you and may have many years less experience.  You will increase your chances of getting the job and being happy and fulfilled in the new position if you put your ego aside and respect your new boss and their differing ways of doing business.  

Don’t underestimate the importance of being on top of the new advances in technology.  Take any computer classes that you can to ensure that your computer skills are up-to-date, familiarize yourself with social media marketing (Facebook, Linkedin, etc), and take advantage of any networking organizations that are in your community or in your field of expertise.  The older you are, the more difficult it becomes to ask others for help. Put that fear aside and seek help wherever you can find it.  

For those job seekers that have been pushed out of retirement and back into the work force to supplemental their income, a great place to look for employment is with temporary staffing agencies.  This will allow you to test various industries and different types of jobs and see what is the best fit.  It also offers the flexibility of part-time only positions.  Retail is another industry that is “senior-friendly”.  Many hire seniors for temporary, seasonal work.  For example, if you love to garden, apply in the spring at all the local nurseries as they gear up for their busy summer months.

Unemployment for older workers is at an all-time high, so it is important that you know your rights before beginning your job search.  Although employers are not supposed to discriminate based on age, it has been difficult in the past to prove.  Congress is currently introducing new legislation to make it easier for seniors to win age discrimination lawsuit.  As a result, hiring managers will be required to have much more substantial back-up to prove the younger candidate was truly the best fit for the job and will force them to carefully consider each candidate based on qualifications alone.

Above all, use your many years of experience to build your confidence, while at the same time recognize that life is a work in progress and there is always something new to learn and unique and different ways to be successful.

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JobsByFax is a resume distribution service by fax. Job hunters select the types of companies & regional area they want to target then upload their resume and cover letter. JobsByFax charges a fee to deliver the resume directly to employers that match.
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