The start of a new year often brings a hiring spree, so job seekers shouldn't wait too long to start courting prospective employers. A career move is even more challenging when you're a mature worker, making it wise to skip many traditional job-search techniques that foster age discrimination. If you're ready to land a better job, adopt these simple resolutions to find a position that makes you thrilled to start your workday.
1. Become a Networking Pro
In a formal hiring process, a lengthy career history can send red flags about a job seeker's age. Instead, build relationships with influencers to vault yourself ahead of the competition and increase your chances of finding opportunities that match your expertise. Getting your foot in the door with a personal recommendation can keep the focus on your skills and give new contacts a sense of your personality, making them less likely to give in to stereotypes.
Be proactive about targeted networking, especially if you've spent much of your career in one place. Rather than relying solely on networking events and introductions from friends, request brief informational interviews with companies that intrigue you. Do you research, and show up prepared to ask questions about the company's direction and culture. Once you interview with an employer, you can ask about other company leaders who might be willing to speak with you. Keep these initial meetings concentrated on learning, but aim to stay in touch with anyone you meet. Most importantly, make sure you're polite and mindful of that person's time, always remembering to formally thank your interviewers.
2. Emphasize Your Technology Skills
Mature job seekers frequently have to overcome bias about their technology skills and willingness to embrace social media. Don't give hiring managers a chance to make assumptions; find ways to highlight your tech knowledge when networking in person and online. Whether you're a whiz at Python or have a thriving blog, join online communities related to your skills, and write helpful articles and comments that show your authority. If your professional development happens to be lagging, you can use local or online courses to refresh your skills and boost your competitiveness as a job seeker.
3. Build Your Personal Brand
Promoting a compelling, cohesive brand across multiple channels is the smartest way to position yourself for long-term success. Jobs come and go, but being a recognized expert in your industry can help you attract inbound connections for the remainder of your career or even start your own business. In the growing gig economy, many companies turn to mature job seekers for their extensive experience, which can be mutually beneficial if you value flexibility and autonomy in your career. Because companies don't have to worry about funding a high salary, mature job seekers often find it easier to get hired as specialists on outsourced projects, earning more upfront than they would as employees.
No one can deny the prevalence of age discrimination, but committing to a smart career-building strategy can help mature job seekers bypass common barriers. No matter what resolutions you choose, evaluate how you're using your time and the effectiveness of your game plan, so you can keep your job search on track this year.
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