Technology, information and skills are always evolving. As a result, it is easy to have experience that the current labor market considers obsolete. While there are employers who are looking for specifically older and mature employees, your skills – or lack of them – could lock you out of a good opportunity. Finding a job is especially difficult when you are competing with thousands of sharp résumés. Working out a strategy can help increase your chances of finding an opportunity.
Evaluate Your Options
You can still make valuable contributions in your profession without being employed. Other options for you include doing research, consulting or training younger employees in the profession. Should you opt for employment, be willing to start small such as volunteering, working part-time or doing small projects for a company. While a career change may be a tasking decision, it might be a better option when your former career has become obsolete such as mail carrying or sorting. Target the companies that know and understand the value of using older employees to nurture the younger workforce.
Update Your Skills
Make sure that your skills in your industry of choice are up to date. Browse job descriptions within the industry to see what skills employers require. Determine what you are lacking and work out a plan to fill the gap. You can do this with adult classes, online training or getting a personal trainer. Update your résumé as well to contain current terminology. Your early entry might have outdated terms.
Use Your Transferable Skills
Some skills are standard and remain valuable over the years. For example, time management, marketing skills, being a team player, the ability to work under minimum supervision, among other skills remain admirable across all industries. Compile previous achievements into a portfolio, and use your most recent references.
Find websites and employment agencies specifically designed for senior employees. The government, for example, compiles and regularly updates a list of sites that people in and past midlife can use to find jobs. Use publications from professional bodies to learn the latest industry-speak. If you are a member of one of the professional bodies, use your certification to make your résumé more outstanding.
Use Your Networks
Past midlife, you probably have established an extensive and reliable network. Forbes Magazine lists networking as one of the best ways to find a job at every stage of your career. Work out what you want and communicate clearly. Think about what to ask for before contacting your networks. For example, asking for an introduction and asking for job updates will require different efforts. Do not rule out anyone in your contacts. Even if a reliable contact is not in the industry you want to work in, he can refer you to someone who can help.
Just because you are a senior citizen doesn’t mean you are any less energetic or talented. Using creative strategies and professional help can help you find opportunities that allow you to keep contributing to the world. The secret is to find ways through which your experience works for you rather than against you.