Before you finalize your decision to look for a new position, you should take a long, hard look at why you want to leave your current job. The marketplace is full of both risks and rewards, and if the reason you’re leaving your current position is superficial, you could easily find yourself leaping out of the fire pan and into the fire.
Create a Job Search Firewall
It is absolutely essential to create clear boundaries between your workplace and your job search. Thinking about using the office copier to print resumes? Trying to squeeze an interview in over your lunch hour? These and many other pitfalls have been the demise of many job seekers, so think very carefully before you allow your job search to bleed over into your workday or office space.
Employed jobseekers walk a fine line between aggressively promoting themselves in the job marketplace and hiding the fact that they are looking for a new employment opportunity. It’s usually safe to update your LinkedIn profile, but posting your resume on public job boards and engaging in other high risk job search activities can quickly backfire.
1) Keep Learning: Older job seekers need to push the limits of their experience and enhance their skill-set to stay relevant. By taking on new challenges, older job seekers can prove to prospective employers that their minds are limber and open to new ideas. To encourage growth, consider volunteering or taking a class at the local community college. Both are good resume builders for older workers who have been out of workforce for a while. Trying new things is the best way to spark creativity and prove that you’re ready to drive innovations at work. Learning in and after middle age requires special attention – the best approach is to treat it like excerise: make a routine that you stick to.
2) Stay Vibrant: Often times older individuals are accused of being worn out and tired. If an interviewer or employer attempts to pigeonhole you into this category, by all means, prove them wrong. Cite various skills and talents you possess that would be advantageous on the job. Speak with the enthusiasm of a recent college grad and the passionate eloquence of an industry expert. Only in this way will your interviewer understand your vigorous drive for success. Long work hours are now demanded and expected from most professional jobs as well. One preconception that your interviewer might harbor against you is that you won’t work the hours that younger professionals might. This is factually incorrect (younger professionals are often embroiled in young family life, for example, when older workers have more time to devote to their careers.) Emphasize your commitment to work and give solid examples of your dedication and energy in relation to a specific project.
3) Stand behind your Accomplishments: More than ever, older workers need to showcase their accomplishments to prove they are valuable. These job seekers will need a top-of-the-line resume that outlines years of experience and highlights the best of their skills in order to impress hiring managers. Your experience is what you have going for you – don’t be afraid to flaunt specific accomplishments, business results, or accolades. At the same time, set new goals that are in line with age and the career path you want to explore – it will give you a new sense of purpose and enhance drive for success.
Preconceived notions of older professionals actually block hiring managers from hiring a lot of great, experienced talent. Ageism is rampant in our society, in particular in certain technology driven industries. If you are an older professional out of a job, it’s good to be aware of some of the hurdles that you may face. Keep in mind of course, to not let these potential issues get you down – although common, not every hiring manager or employer carries these negative preconceptions. Be sure to stay positive, get prepared, and put your best foot forward to find a new job. Good luck!