While a lot of people equate being an older adult with being a retiree, the fact is millions of Americans over the age of 65 work full or part-time jobs every day. For some, their work is a matter of necessity to remain financially secure and independent. Others work to stay active in their communities.
Working when you’re older summons the dreaded concept of age discrimination. Most of us are aware that age discrimination is “a thing.” There’s even a federal law targeting the practice, which forbids age discrimination against people who are age 40 (you heard me, 40) or older.
Nonetheless, age discrimination still exists, and it can make it harder to find a new job. But some older job seekers actually undermine their own efforts by making these eight common errors. Correct them before they cost you your next opportunity.
1. Waiting for the perfect job – When it comes to landing a new job, give up the idea that you need to replace the job you had before. Remember, your skills and experience are transferable. Try not to pass an opportunity because you don’t think it’s an ideal fit. It might be; it’s just not what you had been doing.
2. Keeping dated email accounts – Hear me out: AOL and Yahoo email addresses are dated and portray you that way, too. Ditch the old email address for a professional email address with Gmail or Outlook for your job search.
3. Overlooking a digital presence – I can feel the cringe, but maybe it’s time to join Twitter and polish your LinkedIn profile. Tweet, friend and connect across all social media platforms to increase your visibility.
4. Kicking back and taking a break – By all means, enjoy your post-career life, but if you want to land another gig, the key is to keep busy. Remember, employers love self-starters. Stay active in your field by consulting or blogging, so you can raise your profile.
5. Overdoing your resume – You resume is something recruiters scan in 20 or 30 seconds. With this in mind, keep it to two pages, use a traditional font (like Times New Roman), keep work history to the past 10 years, and make it interesting. Use short snippets to tell about your career successes. And always remember to proofread.
6. Overlooking contacts – This is business, and the old style importance of networking remains in place. Dig deep into your network. You never know who might be in a position to help or introduce you to someone who can
7. Ruling out jobs – Try not to overthink the job description. A job posting is a wish list of what a company would love a new employee to have, but only some of the requirements are really essential.
8. Lacking salary flexibility – A deal breaker for lots of older workers is the reality that they may be offered less than they were making in their last job. The solution is to temper your salary demands. Try softening the blow from the pay cut by negotiating for more flex time, vacation days and other perks.