According to the Age Wave study, 80% of employees after fifty work because they want to, not because they have to. Moreover, 58% believe that retirement is a great opportunity to change careers and accomplish their deferred professional purposes. If you share their vision and enthusiasm, this guide is just for you. Here you will find valuable tips that will increase your chances of getting hired over 50 years old.
What prevents you from finding a job after 50
The main difficulty of job hunting after 50 is ageism, or age discrimination, which includes a set of stereotypes about older workers. These myths lead potential employers and young colleagues to put your age above your qualifications and motivation, thereby lowering your employability.
- Low technological awareness. Modern employers select a tech-savvy team to keep up with the times and offer a competitive product. Engagement in technology, in turn, is one of the main characteristics of the generations Y (the 1980s – mid-90s) and Z (late 90s – early 2000s). In this regard, many companies believe that older applicants either do not want to master new technologies relying on past practices or spend too much time and effort on their training.
- Salary requirements. Some employers still believe that older job seekers with extensive job experience demand high wages for their services. Meanwhile, the Age Wave study mentioned above proved that high income is the primary motivation for only 31% of pre-retiree people. The rest of the respondents continue their career path to remain mentally active.
- The overqualification issue is acute both when specialists after 50 continue to work in the chosen industry and start new careers. Employers fear that their experience prevents them from adopting the best practices of young professionals. Unfortunately, these fears are not always unfounded. For example, the poll “Intergenerational Conflict in the Workplace” showed 47% of young workers complain that their older colleagues do not demonstrate adequate flexibility and resist changes.
How to get a good job after 50 and challenge stereotypes
Stereotypes are obstacles to your successful employment. Therefore, you must bend every effort to overcome them. To simplify your task, we have created an action plan for each of them.
- The best way to prove that employees over fifty can still be well-versed in technology is to demonstrate your computer and technical skills. For this purpose, you need to go the extra mile and find out what software and hardware are in demand in your chosen industry. If you have never worked with it before, you have to fill this gap and master the technology from scratch. Fortunately, today you can find many online courses and tutorials freely available. So your success depends only on your perseverance. In an ideal scenario, you should get a certificate to prove your skills. After that, you can add it to your resume, thereby breaking the first stereotype.
- If employers avoid overqualified candidates, prove that your qualifications are on the level with the desired position. To deal with this, you have to edit your resume. Your work history should reflect only your recent experience from the past 10-15 years and include job titles relevant to the chosen vacancy. In this case, you will not scare off the employer with your extensive track record.
Also, let them know that your expertise does not make you an opponent of innovations. Use a cover letter to talk about your flexibility and adaptability skills and successful experience in implementing changes. Remember, your job search at 50 years old will be fruitful only if you tailor the cover letter to each specific position. In this case, a professional writing service https://www.getcoverletter.com can save you time.
- Your resume and cover letter are not the best places to reveal your financial expectations. But you can still hint to an employer that income is not your key factor when choosing a job. Your cover letter can include your motivation to join a particular company, reasons for finding a new career at 50, and genuine interest in your chosen role. This self-presentation will prove that you are looking for something more than just a tidy sum in your bank account and break the last stereotype about older applicants.
How to start a new career at 50
CNBC reports that about 40% of people over 50 are looking for work, and women make up a larger share of applicants. Unlike men, many of them were unemployed because they raised their families. Therefore, women strive to unlock their potential now. Both sexes tend to change careers. Some specialists try their hand at a new role while others set their sights on another promising industry. Whichever option you choose, our tips will increase your chances of starting a new career stage.
- Get ready to learn from scratch. Any career change means that you will be looking for your first job with no experience. Such applicants pose certain risks since employers must entrust their business to newcomers and take responsibility for their training and development. To increase your credibility, you must prove your strong theoretical foundation. For this purpose, research the trends in the selected industry and the current requirements for the desired role. You should know for sure what skills modern employers request, what software your colleagues use, and what qualifications are “must-have” in this profession. Remember, you can apply for a position only after having mastered at least a basic set of skills.
- Optimize your application documents. If you wonder how to apply for a job after 50, revise your resume and cover letter. In most cases, the recruiter does not manually check these documents but entrusts this process to the applicant tracking system (ATS). This program looks for keywords that prove your job suitability and can weed you out if they are not available. Therefore, adapt your documents to its requirements. Your resume’s volume should not exceed two pages, and your cover letter should be in a one-page format. To find the right keywords, study the vacancy carefully, including responsibilities, required skills, and personality traits. The more matches the ATS finds between job description and your application papers, the more chances you have for interviews.
- Use your social connections. Fruitful networking is a shortcut to employment. If you aim to get into a new industry or master new professions, talk to your previous employer, colleagues, or even subordinates. Perhaps one of them worked in your desired field and developed meaningful contacts, while the other knows which company is looking for a reliable person right now. Your main task is to message your professional goal as accurately as possible so that your social circle can help you achieve it. Therefore, create a 30-second elevator pitch and tell them what kind of job you are looking for, why you chose it, what skills you already have, how you plan to develop, what type of employment you are considering, and so on.
- Start small. When it comes to how to find a new career at 50, be prepared to step out of your comfort zone and return to the first rung of the job ladder. Don’t apply for senior positions. You do not have the required level of expertise yet, which means you will face some rejections. It can undermine your self-confidence and lead to depression.
Also, consider starting part-time. An unfamiliar industry, demands, and responsibilities can be stressful full-time. Meanwhile, part-time employment allows you to get up-to-speed and process new information at a comfortable pace. Besides, you can work on gigs. Customers place them on specialized online platforms and pay for each completed task. It is a great chance to test the waters and improve your computer skills.
- Look for up-close opportunities. If you are not ready to spend months or even years looking for a new job, you should reconsider your approach to choosing employers and occupations. AARP has published a report with the top 10 industries that will eagerly open their doors to older professionals in the next ten years. This list includes industries such as sales, marketing, engineering, technology, and finance. It means that the labor market still offers a wide range of jobs for people over 50. And your task is to think ahead and choose a profession with real chances of employment. Also, try to apply in a company where the average age of employees is at least 35-40. Feel free to visit the potential employer’s LinkedIn profile and view the current staff’s pages.
Job search after 50 has a significant advantage – your choice will always be conscious. You already have the experience, professional background, and qualifications. Therefore, you can evaluate each career option in terms of your needs, requests, and aspirations. While the hiring process still has pitfalls for older professionals, they cannot prevent you from achieving your professional goal. Remember, now you are armed with our helpful guide and your sincere desire to start a new chapter in your career history. It is more than enough to overcome temporary difficulties.