Losing your job after age 50 is about as unsettling as it gets. You should be on the home stretch toward retirement, and instead you’re wondering if you’ll have to dip into your 401(k) just to make ends meet. Competing with millennials can seem a daunting prospect. Age discrimination is real out there, both in the workplace and in the job seeking marketplace.
But, companies are getting called out on ageism more and more. In recent weeks alone, we’ve seen age-related lawsuits rained down on Citigroup, IBM, and, for the fifth time in just over a year, Ikea. Other companies hit with age discrimination lawsuits include Hewlett-Packard, PwC, Marriott, and even Google.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Boomers make up the largest portion of the workforce, whether they’re still working or looking for work. And, in this age of #MeToo, in which discrimination in all forms is being pushed out of the shadows and into the glare of public, legal, and brand-damaging opinion, this army of older workers isn’t going to take it anymore. Just like discrimination on the basis of race, religion, or sex is illegal, so is discrimination on the basis of age. Period.
What does all of that mean for the over-50 job seeker? It means, get out there and go for it. The skills, experience, and institutional knowledge — that intangible “knowing” that comes only from years in the workplace — are invaluable to employers, despite what the Ikeas of the world seem to believe. And as more companies adopt diversity and inclusion policies, not only because it’s the right thing, not only because it’s the law, but also because diversity begets excellence, they’re realizing diversity also means a range of ages in the workplace.
Now, that’s not saying job seeking at any age is easy. And for older people who haven’t been in the job market for a long time, it can be jarring to realize it’s a whole different ball game out there. Here are some tips for hitting that home run.
Beef up, or create, a LinkedIn profile. We can’t overstate the importance of this. LinkedIn is vital to today’s job search at all levels, less so for top execs, but it’s still key. LinkedIn accounts for 25 percent of all interviews, so a great profile is a must.
Create a new email account. If you’re still using an old AOL account, that’ll date you immediately. Update it to Gmail or Outlook.
Be open-minded about salary. You may well be offered less than you were making in your old job. That’s okay. Try to negotiate for a more flexible schedule or other perks.
Use your time to your best advantage. How best to do that? First think about the level of job you’re seeking. Executives should spend less time on online sites and job applications and more time networking. For staff and managers, that ratio is flipped. The idea is to optimize your time to create a job search funnel, which you’re constantly loading with new opportunities.
At GetFive, we can help you navigate your job search to get you back in the game as quickly as possible.