From Make Use Of by Abigale Lim
Job searching when you’re older brings insecurities. There’s a tendency to feel that companies might reject you because of your age. However, the online space brings more opportunities for senior workers. Here are some job search tips when you feel like you’re too old.
1. Learn Digital Skills
You can self-learn digital skills to widen your job options. More companies today need employees who can take on roles connected to social media, artificial intelligence, cloud computing, web research, and the like. Even traditional industries such as manufacturing, hospitality, and transportation depend on computers and the internet.
Digital skills can fall into two categories. Digital skills such as coding or cybersecurity are what you need to take on jobs in the tech sector. But you also need digital skills in non-IT industries.
Learn basic tools such as Microsoft Office or Google Workspace to become competitive. You also need to become familiar with online apps for email, video conferencing, and instant messaging. Do a bit of research and download these apps to get started.
2. Take an Online Course
If you’re the type who learns best with someone’s guidance, consider taking online courses. Learning platforms such as Coursera, Udemy, Skillshare, and edX help you upskill and understand current trends in your industry. You have to pay for most of these platforms, but there are ways to earn free online certificates and boost your job skills.
Take note of some tips to choose the right online courses for upskilling. With so many options online, you might feel overwhelmed. Look over the job descriptions and check the necessary skills for your desired position. Then choose a course with a credible teacher. You can also check the course outline and reviews to gauge if an online class is effective.
3. Plan Your Job Goals Using NCOA’s Job Skills CheckUp Plan
The National Coalition on Aging (NCOA) website provides digital tools to support mature workers so that they can achieve career success. It includes the Age Well Planner, where you’ll find articles and digital assessment tools. Under Employment, you can access the Job Skills CheckUp Plan, a free assessment to guide you in the next steps of your career.
The Job Skills CheckUp Plan asks simple questions about your job goals and current situation. Once you submit your answers, the site will take you to your personalized plan. This plan contains a list of To-Do’s, which you can delete or mark complete.
4. Look for Inclusive Workplaces
Inclusive workplaces support and value every employee regardless of age, gender, disability, or other differences. Global management consulting firm McKinsey & Company emphasizes that diverse and inclusive businesses outperform the competition. However, they also found that not all companies embrace this culture.
You can use several resources to find a company that gives you a sense of belonging. Glassdoor shows you a list of Top Companies for Diversity and Inclusion based on employee reviews. Another way would be to check company awards such as Forbes’ list of America’s Best Employers for Diversity. You can also search for diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) information on a company’s website.
5. Look for “Age Proof” Jobs
While some companies are slow on the uptake regarding inclusivity, you can look for jobs that couldn’t care less about age. These jobs zero in on skills without looking at your birthday. You can work until you retire as long as you’re physically and mentally able.
So which jobs are age inclusive? Teaching is a profession where age doesn’t matter and is an advantage. After teaching for a certain number of years, you might even earn tenure. Another option would be freelancing, where clients value skills more than anything. To start your freelance journey, look up the best freelance jobs and which websites to search for them.
6. Optimize Your Social Media Profiles
Don’t miss out on the job opportunities that social media may bring. While social networks can be distracting and feel inauthentic, they’re also helpful tools for job searching. You can apply for jobs on LinkedIn, create Facebook pages, join communities and groups, and participate in discussions to help you in your job search.
Optimize your social media profile to emphasize your strengths. If you have skills, insights, and experiences to share, take time to craft posts that create value for your network. Carefully choose the photos and words you will use. The way you project yourself online influences how potential employers perceive you.
7. Revise Your Resume
You don’t have to list all your job experiences. For instance, you can skip those few months you waited on tables as a student if it’s irrelevant to the role. Sending a resume with the essential skills and experiences will highlight that you’re a good fit for the job.
Also, be strategic about including dates in your resume. If you recently completed a certification course to upskill, you’d want to include a date to show that it’s current. However, you don’t have to mention your graduation date on your resume if you graduated ten years ago. Doing this helps you avoid age discrimination when you’re job searching.
8. Apply for Adult Internships
Internships used to be available only to college students. Thankfully, even adults can apply for internships nowadays. These opportunities are valuable if you’re transitioning to a new career or after taking an extended break from work. Internships help you get back on track and acquire the skills to rejoin the workforce.
Some companies offer adult Internships to relaunch your career. Finishing a “returnship” doesn’t guarantee full-time work, but it’s still a valuable opportunity for learning and professional networking. Make sure you read the application requirements and deadlines to get a shot at an internship.
9. Check the Job Description
Before applying for jobs, carefully check the job description. Sometimes, the reason why you’re not getting hired is that you’re overqualified for the position. Search for opportunities that fit your experience and skills.
However, there are valid reasons for applying to junior positions, even if you’re an older professional. For instance, you might want a role with fewer responsibilities, or you might want to transition to a new career. If that’s the case, frame your reasons positively in your cover letter or during your job interview.
10. Consider Taking Side Jobs
While waiting for a callback on your application, consider taking on a side job. Side hustles can be profitable opportunities that give you flexibility. A simple search on the internet will provide you with the best side hustle apps for making extra cash.
Some side jobs can even turn into career opportunities. Side hustles like taking online surveys or ride-sharing may not earn you a stable income. But others like selling on an e-commerce store, consulting, and coaching have the potential to become a full-time career.
Use Your Age to Your Advantage When Job Searching
Your age doesn’t have to be a liability when looking for jobs. Older professionals ideally have the experience and maturity to take on more significant roles. If you feel like you’re lacking in the skills department, it’s not too late to learn. Employers will appreciate your ability to adapt and be flexible.
Once you’re ready to look for jobs again, don’t forget to pay attention to your resume. Aside from being strategic about the dates you include, you might also want to read up on other tips to make your resume stand out to recruiters. Your age doesn’t give a complete picture of your abilities. But when done right, your resume can.