Ten Tips For Middle-Age Job Hunting

Microsoft Do Great sign in Downtown LA - BlogHer 16My life changed the day I lost my job last year, but not in the way I anticipated.

Although I miss the cash and that feeling of usefulness and being with my coworker friends, I recall the long days and the dismissive behavior of some management. What should have been exciting work became daily headaches and nausea. There was no time to learn new skills or look for another job.

That changed this year. I changed this year. Here’s what I know:

  1. Get more education. A bachelor’s degree today is the equivalent of a high school diploma a generation ago. I now have my advanced diploma in copyediting and proofreading, and am studying Marketing and Strategic Communications Writing. (Think press releases and product pitches. Fun!)
  2. Be less humble. I chose to get that diploma and take additional classes at a name-brand university because, let’s face it, people take notice when they learn you went to a well-known school.
  3. Be much less humble: I updated my résumé and LinkedIn profile to reflect accomplishments that I didn’t realize were a big deal. Thankfully, one of the required classes for that diploma was job searching, with excellent insight and tips. See what I did in item 1? I led with my newest knowledge. I’m also thankful for friends who recognize strengths that I didn’t know I had.
  4. Take that less-humility on the road: I dreaded networking. What would I say? Who would want to talk to me? Here’s a trick: find some no-cost business expos to attend. Get lost in the crowd. Tell whomever will listen what you have to offer them. Collect the swag and, before long, you’ll have enough swagger to enjoy smaller networking events, where you can confidently pitch yourself one-on-one with potential clients or employers. Some networking possibilities: local business groups, Meetups, school reunions. SCORE volunteers are retired business professionals who can help you get on track, and the service is free.
  5. Volunteer strategically. Make it something that uses your business talents and adds to your marketability. It helps if you feel passionate about it.
  6. Package it up nicely: You don’t have to wear couture to dress well. It really is true that you only get one chance to make a first impression, and you can’t be sure when you’ll be called upon to do that. Wear your most confident and stylish clothing whenever possible.
  7. Avoid negative people. You can’t always do that but try to keep positive and supportive people around you who aren’t afraid to tell you where you need improvement.
  8. Be kind to yourself. Seek joy. Be social. You didn’t bring this on yourself and don’t deserve to be punished for it.
  9. Job hunting is a full-time job. Use your time wisely. Don’t be like me and realize, at 11:00 at night, that there are emails and research that still need to be done.
  10. Keep up with current technology in your field. Use the library and don’t act nostalgic about how things used to be done.

You will probably experience age discrimination. It’s illegal in the United States but it happens anyway. Show that you are as qualified and vibrant as any other job applicant. You are part of a marginalized group and, as such, have to try harder.

Your superpower is that you’ve probably already faced down some challenges in your life. Recall those experiences. Find that strength and tenacity because they will serve you well as you look for a new way to earn a living.

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