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Working Later in Life: Secrets for Success

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When you first began your career, presumably back in your 20s, did you ever wonder where you would be when you transitioned to the fabulous 50s and beyond? Would you be able to retire? Would you still be with the same company? What types of opportunities would be available to you at that time? 

While I have known some individuals who can comfortably retire in their 50s and travel the world, I also know those who have decided to completely pivot and pursue another career. Work experience and maturity create new levels of confidence that seemingly would put your resume at the top of the pile. But how difficult is it to keep working or find work at age 50 and beyond?

While the unemployment rate for older workers is trending lower than that of their younger counterparts, older workers still have stumbling blocks to overcome when searching for work at this stage of life. If you are considering finding a new job after the age of 50, there are a few strategies to consider.

First, start your search early and rely on your network. At this stage in your life, you should have a fairly large database of contacts within various industries who could assist in your search. It’s also a good idea to keep your resume to a minimum. Highlight the most recent experience and note any relevant accomplishments. A longer resume can easily translate to “too old” for the job.

Don’t mention your age in the interview and most certainly do not refer to the age of the person interviewing you. You don’t want the focus on the number. You want to give the assurance that you are right for the position and explain why you can do the job well. If you speak about a job you had 20 years ago, that may hinder the interview process. Also, don’t make any comments about the age of a younger manager. Some younger managers may feel insecure supervising an older individual with more experience. However, as long as you can assure that person you are fine with the job for which you are applying and that you are comfortable taking direction from them, they won’t have to worry that you are out to snag their job.

Brush up on your technology skills. The more you know, the better suited you will be to continue within the workforce. Being able to demonstrate fluency with technology is a great way to overcome age issues. To subtly fuse this into the interview, be sure to provide a LinkedIn URL on your resume or let the interviewer know you found the job posting through an online platform.

Before heading down a different career path, however, it’s important to take stock of who you are and what you want out of life at this point. A life peppered with “should haves” and “would haves” isn’t productive. Now is the time to really focus on what you want to do. If you’re uncertain, you may want to seek advice from a career counselor. This transition is not just about the money; more than likely it’s about embracing personal satisfaction and contributing the talents, skills and experience you have acquired to benefit society in a way that speaks to your heart.

It is important to remain realistic. I doubt at this point in life I would make a great astronaut or race car driver (unless they want to do studies on aging in space or at high rates of speed!). Instead, this is a great time to contemplate consulting, part-time work or volunteering.

Just as it is important to exercise one’s mind to stay sharp, it is equally important to stay fit and healthy at this stage in life, most notably if you are in the job market. Exercise regularly. Take care of yourself. Keep your mind sharp by reading books on positivity and success. These help set the tone for your overall wellbeing.

Above all, now is the time to be flexible. You may not get exactly what you want, but you just may happen to find what you need. Your attitude will become your greatest strength. And always lead with the mindset of how you can help others by virtue of what you contribute to the job. Others will take notice, and they will wonder how they survived this long without you!

Last but not least, get your resume reviewed and updated by a professional. Make sure it is geared toward the job for which you are applying and avoid multiple pages of information that will only serve to amplify your maturity. You have a lot to offer an employer at this point. Confidence, experience and desire are your greatest selling points.

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