These days, when we have an average 12 jobs over the course of a career, being back in the job market is more routine than unusual. Whether you’re there because you’re craving a change of scenery, looking to get back into the workforce after a break or got caught up in a round of downsizing, don’t let age become a factor. You’re not old, you’re experienced. Here are five tips you need to know when it comes to searching for a new job if you are over 40.
Leverage your network
Network, network, network. We’ve heard it over and over again — and there’s a good reason why. “Seasoned workers tend to have a robust network of past and present colleagues. Contact individuals to let them know you’re looking, especially if they work at a company you’re interested in,” says Jennifer Sullivan Grasz, Vice President of Corporate Communications at CareerBuilder. The goal is for someone to say or email on your behalf to get your resume pulled out of the pile so that it sits right on top.
Go beyond your comfort zone
Don’t be afraid to look into jobs that are a departure from your previous ones. “Look outside of the field where you have spent the last 20 years. It is okay to branch out because it helps widen your opportunities, shows that your skills are transferable and provides the chance for professional growth,” says Holly Caplan, workplace issues expert and career coach.
When it comes to sprucing up your resume, be sure to focus on your most recent or relevant experience. And make it snappy. There are still very few instances when a resume needs to go longer than a page. When an employer looks at a resume, they don’t want to see three long pages of every step of your career says Caplan. “They want to see succinct bullet points that are fresh with updated concepts and activities,” she adds.
Ask hard questions
When you get the interview, don’t be shy to throw out some hardball questions. “At [40-plus years old] you know business better and can go more in depth about company needs and challenges,” says Caplan. She encourages you to show off your skills, thought processes and leadership potential. “You don’t have to stick to the standard interview script, as you have more knowledge and work experience,” says Caplan.
Don’t get hung up on titles
Are you worried about going from manager to assistant manager? Grasz says don’t be. “Titles vary depending on the company size, industry and other factors. A Vice President role at a smaller organization may carry the same level of responsibility and compensation as a Director role at a large organization,” says Grasz. Focus on the opportunity, not the title.
Go for the growing fields
Grasz says that low unemployment and burgeoning skills gaps are making it difficult for companies to fill jobs across a variety of fields and industries. She suggests looking at reports from the Bureau of Labor Statistics and other sources that provide insights into where employers are hungry for experienced talent.
With Hattie Burgher