Published on March 8, 2014
A study from Career Builder revealed that 60% of workers over the age of 60 plan to look for new jobs after retiring from their current companies, up from 57% a year ago. Among those 65 and older who worked in 2011, 44.3% worked full-time, year-round. Among states and equivalents, the District of Columbia had the highest rate, at 62.2 percent. Source: Labor Force Participation and Work Status of People 65 and Older
Retirement landscape is changing as is the workforce. But, for those over the age of 60 who still see another 5 – 15 years of work ahead of them, there have been a lot of changes to adapt to. When I started my computer training business, my intent was to only work with the mature market. However, my phone began to ring with one boomer after another with the same request. I need work. I lost my job OR I quit my job OR I just got divorced and must get back to work.
I’m not one to sit around and blame or point finger so I made a list of what you can do to fight age discrimination and uplevel those skills while job hunting. And yes, the 2.0 transparent world has forced us to all share our omelettes and food porn on every social media site. Well, not really . . . but you know what I’m talking about. I want you to consider these 10 things as you begin looking for work:
1) Find a Community Online or Offline *Connect with others to get a ground-level of whats happening out there *Use sites like Meetup or LinkedIn *Connect and engage on LinkedIn Groups There is nothing more reassuring than being amongst like-minded individuals at the same stage that you are in. This is your support. These are the people who can commiserate with you and the same ones that will lift you up and at times offer a shoulder to cry on. You need people. We all do.
5) Complete your LinkedIn profile There is nothing that shows you are half-assing your way through LinkedIn like a non-complete profile. What do I mean? LinkedIn has a checklist that lets you know if you have completed your profile 100%. This means a picture, work experience, recommendations (aka testimonials) . . . and please, get a good picture. Please do not use the picture of you at the Jimmy Buffet concert where you have cut out the part of the pic that has you holding onto a margarita. I love Jimmy. I love margaritas. But this is not okay as your LinkedIn profile picture. LinkedIn is the “professional facebook” and I promise you that every HR professional is going to hunt you down online. Remember, they are human too and curious to see as much about you before they spend their time on the interview process with you.
*If you do not have a good picture, go to your local Target store, make sure its one with a photo studio. Book an appointment for a digital session, meaning they will take 3 poses of you and put the files onto a CD. I did this myself it took a few days to get the CD back and it cost $69. Not a bad price considering you can use those pictures everywhere. One more thing, choose the white background. Choose good colors for your skin tone and hair color. Also, do a little research on the poses you think might be ideal by searching online and specifically LinkedIn. Do not expect the hourly employee at Target to know this. If they do, take it as a bonus. Be prepared to get your money’s worth.
6. )Make an appointment with a resume writer This is one of your first points of entry, you gotta make it good. Invest in this. Or at the very least, find a friend or family member who is a good writer or has had a position in the workforce where they had to review resumes. You ABSOLUTELY must have a second and third set of eyes on your resume.
7) Eat LIVE food Yep, get healthy. The better the food that goes into your body, the better your appearance, skin, outlook on life will be. Companies are not hiring you for giggles. They want an enthusiastic individual who is willing to stop at nothing to carry their mission forward and make them money. How you eat and how you stay physically fit is important. Plus, its a win-win. If you are not in peak physical shape, they may worry that you might need time off for doctor’s visits or health issues. Is this fair for a potential employer to assume this? I don’t know. Life’s not fair. Get over it.
8) Create a spa day to rejuvenate your spirit and appearance Chances are you might be a bit stressed about the situation you are in. Think about how you feel after you get a haircut that is a few weeks overdue or get your nails done. You feel like a million bucks. You walk a little taller. Put together your own day to focus on you. You might be thinking, oh yeah, perfect, I am unemployed and now you want me to book a full spa day at the Ritz. No, not exactly. In fact, you most likely have a beauty school in your neighborhood such as the Paul Mitchell school. For less than $100 you can receive a haircut, massage, facial, make up lesson, manicure and pedicure. Just google beauty school and your city and make an appointment for one of those treatments or all of them.
Don’t overlook this step. You know I am right. Again, if you don’t have the cash to go to the fancy schmancy salon go to the school. I still go to beauty schools. Well, I alternate. My fave salon one month, the school the next. Make your money go farther. I give you permission. Now go. Your welcome.
9) Get referrals Ask for warm introductions and referrals. Have you ever heard the saying “Its not what you know, but who you know?” The bigger your network, the better it is for you. You are able to decrease the degrees of separation between you and the potential employer. Keep networking. Don’t know someone from a company you are really trying to get in with? Go to lunch in the neighborhood, people usually keep their FOBs on or badges. Chat folks up in line at the Panera. Do whatever it takes to meet key contacts. Do whatever it takes. Do whatever . . . .
10) Focus on your experience You have an enormous amount of wisdom and experience to bring to an organization, meaning you can hit the ground running with minimal supervision. Focus on how you have led teams, how you have been able to mentor the younger set of employees, and most importantly provide examples of your flexibility in the workforce. You know what the workplace demands. You know that a job description is and typically totally inaccurate. The younger set might think the job description is set in stone. You have the experience to know what it takes and how you might need to pivot to help the organization reach its goals. Share this.
You have great things in store for you, now go seize your perfect job. The world needs Y-O-U. “The thing the sixties did was to show us the possibilities and the responsibility that we all had. It wasn’t the answer. It just gave us a glimpse of the possibility.” John Lennon
P.S. Still think you need to uplevel your online work skills, check out the pre-launch ofReWork 2.0 P.P.S Can’t wait for ReWork 2.0? Then I highly recommend reading this and participating in this invaluable source
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