Finding a job at age 65 can be a challenge. However, it’s a challenge that can be met with success. Your past experiences have provided you with many advantages your younger counterparts don't have – advantages that many companies need and value. You may need to change your point of view a bit, and you’ll need to consistently employ some focused job-seeking tactics. But by vigilantly focusing on your goal, you can succeed.
Conduct a Skills Assessment
One of the first things to address when seeking a job is a thorough assessment of your skills. Make a list of all your capabilities, whether or not they are directly related to your last job. For example, you may be a “people person” – someone with whom others relate well by making them feel at ease. You might have an inherent ability to “size up” individuals and nurture their strong points. Maybe you’re highly organized or excel at training others. You might enjoy working with your hands, or want to avoid stress. Your skill-set, including your personal likes and dislikes, are important components of this exercise because they can open the door to considering jobs you may not have thought about.
Develop an Eye-Catching Resume
The number of resumes that cross the desks of hiring managers has skyrocketed during the recession years. The few resumes that actually get read are informative and concise, capitalizing on the candidates' strong points at the beginning of the document. If you’re not comfortable writing a resume that will get noticed, hire a resume-writer. Try to locate someone who understands the concept of immediately catching the reader's eye. Keep copies of your resume with you wherever you go so you can put them in the hands of your contacts, some of whom might pass it to a company recruiter. A senior job candidate may have a better chance of having his resume reviewed if it is presented to human resources by a trusted individual currently working within a company.
Maintain Your Momentum
Lapses in dates on your resume may not be to your advantage because they signal to recruiters that you were out of work for a period of time and, thus, may have potentially lost your “edge." You can avoid negative perceptions created by missing time periods by simply taking any job while you search for the one you want. You could accept a lower-paying position or work for a temporary employment agency. Volunteering is another option, as is freelancing or contract work. Employers want to see that you stayed busy through consecutive dates, remaining active and productive.
Perhaps the most important factor in finding a job at 65 lies in your ability to network. Joining one or more networking groups, with their diverse members, can greatly increase your chances of finding a job. Some types of groups to consider include: casual contact networks, such as local chambers of commerce; strong contact networks that meet regularly with set agendas; community service clubs such as the Lions and Rotary clubs; professional associations that operate within a specific industry, such as banking or health; social/business organizations, such as the Jaycees, where business is mixed with social activities; and women’s business organizations. Networking groups can be located in your area by searching the Internet or, in some cases, the local phone book.
Adjust Your Expectations
To entertain the widest possibility of finding a job, you may want to consider positions outside your specific field. For example, your last job may have been as a supermarket general manager. Rather than concentrating on locating the same type of job, consider the additional types of experience your former position gave you, such as people skills, problem solving abilities or visual merchandising expertise. You can parlay your secondary experience into securing a job in a field which may be even more rewarding than your last. Regardless of your former position, you might find jobs unique to your overall experience, such as working as a personal financial adviser, community service manager, entertainment industry liaison, science officer, or healthcare manager.
Several avenues exist that can help you with your job search, and many focus entirely on senior job seekers. These include: Senior Employment Resources (http://seniorjobs.org/onlineResources.php); AARP, American Association of Retired Persons (http://www.aarp.org/work/job-hunting/info-06-2009/job_search_resources.html); The Senior Source (http://www.theseniorsource.org/pages/senioremployment.html); and, Quintessential Careers (http://www.quintcareers.com/mature_jobseekers.html). In addition, tips on finding work after retirement can be found in the book, “The Encore Career Handbook: How to Make a Living and a Difference in the Second Half of Life,” by Marci Alboher (http://heymarci.com/).
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