Despite U.S. unemployment rates that hover around 10 percent, one segment of the population is not being hit as hard: employees age 55-plus. At its peak in December 2009, the unemployment rate for this group was 7.2 percent. As of December, 2010, it was 6.9 percent. These statistics will no doubt come as a surprise to all the 55-plus job seekers who are still struggling to find work.
Ford R. Myers, Career Coach, Speaker and Author of “Get The Job You Want, Even When No One’s Hiring,” (John Wiley & Sons, 2009, www.GetTheJobBook.com) finds that mature workers offer experience and skills that younger workers cannot offer employers. “They are more likely to stay put for longer than their younger counterparts, thus reducing turnover – which lowers the costs associated with hiring and training,” says Myers.
Regardless of the benefits mature workers offer employers, many face age discrimination when searching for a new job. Myers suggests the following four practical strategies that can increase the chance of landing a great job at any age:
1. Energy level.
Even if you’re a mature worker, it’s important to maintain a high level of energy and project real vitality. This allows you to take on challenging projects, keep up with the fast pace of business, and get things done efficiently. So show-up early, move fast throughout the day, and work hard.
2. Technology skills.
As an older candidate, you didn’t grow up in the computer age, but it’s critical that you learn and practice technical skills. Employers are much more likely to hire mature workers who can demonstrate strong computer skills and possess a comfort level with technology in general. This is a great way to compete effectively with younger candidates.
3. Personal image.
It’s always important to look your best, and this is especially true when the mature worker is looking for a job. Pay close attention to your appearance. You can make a more positive impression by updating your hairstyle, eyeglasses, clothing and many other personal attributes. Your wardrobe may also need a “makeover” to look more stylish.
4. Company culture.
Research the culture of your prospective employer. If everyone at the company is 20 to 30 years old, then the firm is not likely to hire an older candidate like you. On the other hand, there are companies that have a reputation for attracting and hiring mature workers. These firms actually like to have “adult supervision,” and they’ll pay a premium for your greater levels of experience and wisdom.
“You can’t change your chronological age, so don’t waste mental energy thinking about it. Older workers who understand that their maturity and expertise are assets are more likely to land the job they want in the long run,” adds Myers.
For more information and other useful tips to help those in career transition achieve career success, visit http://www.getthejobbook.com.
Reprinted by permission of Ford R. Myers, a nationally-known Career Coach and author of “Get The Job You Want, Even When No One’s Hiring.” Download your Free Special Report, “10 Vital Strategies to Maximize Your Career Success” at http://www.careerspecialreport.com.
About the Author:
Ford R. Myers is President of Career Potential, LLC. His firm helps clients take charge of their careers, create the work they love, and earn what they deserve! Ford has held senior consulting positions at three of the nation’s largest career service firms. His articles and interviews have appeared in many national magazines and newspapers, and he has conducted presentations at numerous companies, associations and universities. In addition, Ford has been a frequent guest on television and radio programs across the country. He is author of Get the Job You Want, Even When No One’s Hiring. More information is available at: http://www.getthejobbook.com and http://www.careerpotential.com.