Finding work during a recession is tough, to be sure, but finding work during a recession when you are 55 and older can be even tougher. The fact is, in our youth obsessed culture young pups will always have an advantage over grey wolves, no matter the experience level.
A Harris Interactive/CareerBuilder poll found that, among workers 55 and older who had lost their job since the recession started, only 28% had found employment within a year as opposed to 71% of 25-34 year olds. Those are disheartening stats to say the least.
If you’re a grey wolf don’t feel like you have to give up on catching the lamb just yet however. Many folks in the same ‘too young to retire’ situation are indeed finding work, and they’re using the tips below to do it. Read on, and let’s see if we can give you something to keep those pups at bay.
Firstly, look for companies who have an older core of executives, people that realize the value of real-world experience. Steer clear of companies being run by execs in their 30’s though, unless you like heaving your pride hurt by a guy 20+ years younger than you.
‘Streamline’ your resume. If an employer sees that you were on Moses’ team when he parted the Dead Sea, you might want to consider dropping that bit and going with something a little more recent. It also helps your cause if you don’t look smarter than the boss. In this case, less is better.
If you don’t have a computer you should get one ASAP. (What the heck took you this long anyway?!) A smart-phone would be a smart idea too. These days it’s all about being ‘tech savvy’. Taking a basic computer course wouldn’t hurt either.
List your capabilities more than your achievements. If you were Valedictorian of the Class of ’65 you don’t look smart, you look ancient. Put down what you can do now, not what you did then.
Renn Zaphiropoulos, the founder of Versatec , had this advice for the older job seeker- “Don’t tell me how hard you worked, don’t tell me how long you worked, tell me what you accomplished. Tell me what you can do for me. Don’t tell me you’re a self-starter or creative. Show me what you did to demonstrate these characteristics. Let the data speak for you.”
Finally, use the facts about your age to your advantage without playing up the actual years that you’ve been in the field. Emphasize that you’re stable, always on time, hardworking and dependable. Employers, no matter your age, are always seeking people they can depend on.