Career Makeover for 50+ Job Seekers

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You paid your dues, worked hard, moved up the ladder. Slipped down a few times. But now it’s different. You’re off the ladder. Outplaced by a cash-strapped company that couldn’t afford to keep you on.  You’ve applied to job after job with no luck. You’ve read the coded ads that say “high energy” or “fast paced” and you know they’re excluding you. You’re just about ready to give up. To join the “99ers.” Ready to try anything to get back in the game—at almost any level. Some suggestions to give you a leg up in your job search:

Re-Do Your Image

Check out the websites of the companies you’re applying to. Look at the key players.  See how they’re dressed. Take note of the young “comers” in the organization. Now go to your closet and check out what you used to wear to work. Time for a change? Probably. Get some GQ mags and go shopping—not with your wife—but with a younger professional friend. Take the grey out of your hair. If you’re going bald, shave your head completely and ditch the Bozo look. Ditto the beard—unless you have a neck that looks like a Thanksgiving turkey’s—but take out the grey. If you’re out of shape, join a gym, lose the fat and pick up some muscle. You’ll look and feel younger. Check out Nicole Williams’ How to Dress for Success video.

Re-Do Your Skillset

This applies to anything with computers and programs. Bring yourself up to speed on what the leaders in your industry are using. Take an online class. Attend seminars, conferences and trade shows in your industry. Talk to people—young people. Get ahead of the tech curve, instead of playing catch up. Salespeople, in particular, seem to pay the least attention to this part of their skillset. They think it’s all about salesmanship. So familiarize yourself with the latest high tech selling tools. And don’t ignore social media. Sign up for the sites your customers now visit on their mobile devices. Feeling discouraged? Check out Critical Tips for Finding Work After 50.

Re-Do Your Career Path

This is a tough one for boomers. Many just seem stuck in their career direction, refusing to steer off the path they’ve beaten. It may mean selling a completely different product or service. Granted, you’ll have to start at near bottom. But at least you’ll be employed, gaining experience and filling those nagging gaps in your resume. You might even consider learning a foreign language and selling products or services to overseas buyers. In this global economy, a second language is increasingly valued as asset for just about any job. Ruth Mantell’s Wallstreet Journal article, Must-Have Job Skills in 2013, outlines what employers expect out of today’s job seekers.

Re-Do Your Expectations

Another tough one for boomers, especially those used to big salaries and lavish corporate perks. Time to come down off that high horse and work with the teams who got you there. If you’re as good as you say you were, you’ll rise to the top again. The point is to get in and show them what you’ve got. The rise may be slower and you may only make it to manager before you retire. But it beats standing in unemployment lines. In Overcoming redundancy: 52 inspiring ideas to help you bounce back from losing your job, Gordon Adams advises job seekers to not take their layoff personally and to stay on good terms with their former employer.

Over 50 and can’t find a job? Time for a career makeover.

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  • John Newland
    John Newland
    A career makeover is not going to help if they fired you for a title 7(Human Rights) hate aspect (like if you are foreign-born or maybe not white)   I have an engineering degree and cant get a job as a mechanic. Time to talk to the corporations about their boy's club membership demograph.

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