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Job Hunting After 55

by Adele Burney

At an age when many people thought they'd be contemplating retirement, many are finding themselves back in the job market. Job hunting is difficult enough without the specter of age adding to the equation. Although being over the age of 55 can be an obstacle, job hunters in this age group have a solid chance of obtaining not only a job but perhaps a whole new career.

Challenges

Age can be a huge factor when interviewing for a job. This is mostly due to preconceived notions about older individuals. The Age Discrimination in Employment Act prohibits age discrimination in hiring, but it’s hard to enforce. Many times, applicants never know why they didn’t get a call back after an interview. If an interviewer makes blatant references to age during the interview, that may be a clue; many interviewers are far too savvy to do so, however. The idea that an older worker may be overqualified for a position is another challenge. When confronting these types of obstacles in an interview, bring the focus to current accomplishments and talk about what you've done to resolve issues in the workplace. Skilled job-seekers show how they can be problem-solvers and assets to a company.

Using Social Media

Close to 50 percent of younger job-seekers use social media such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn as a part of their job search arsenal. Compare that to 13 percent of older job-seekers who use social media. Social media is an excellent way to showcase skills and expertise. It also lets you network with industry leaders and others in your career field to stay abreast of industry changes and initiatives. One of the misconceptions about older workers is that they're slow to adopt new technology and change. An upside to using social media is that potential employers can see that you're staying current and embracing new technology.

Stay Active

If your skills are a bit rusty, it may be time to head back to school. A recent article on the Bankrate website states that 20 percent of younger workers are updating their skills, compared to 12 percent of older job-seekers. Improving yourself through education or training courses shows hiring managers your dedication and commitment to your career. Many interviewers worry that older workers may not be around for the long haul. They’re concerned that employees are just hanging around until retirement. Staying active in your industry can help diminish these concerns. Don’t forget that volunteering in clubs or organizations in your field also helps show your commitment and keeps you in touch with the industry. Plus, it’s a terrific way to network.

Resources

If you're over the age of 55 and find yourself back on the job market, sources of assistance are available. Join the American Association of Retired Persons if you haven’t already done so. The AARP sponsors job fairs and offers career advice via its website and magazine. Staying active in school alumni associations gives you access to job search resources for alumni. If you think your style may be dated and hindering you in interviews, enlist the help of an image consultant, who can analyze your wardrobe and overall look to help you update your image.

About the Author

Adele Burney started her writing career in 2009 when she was a featured writer in "Membership Matters," the magazine for Junior League. She is a finance manager who brings more than 10 years of accounting and finance experience to her online articles. Burney has a degree in organizational communications and a Master of Business Administration from Rollins College.

Photo Credits

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