Topic of the Week Over 55 Is The New 40
- Don't play into old age stereotypes.
- Do solve their problems.
- Do use your network.
- Do keep learning.
Recently I talked to a friend who is over 55 years old. She felt like no employer would ever hire her, and she's not alone, a lot of people in their fifties feel the same way. One small problem, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the jobless rate for people 55 and older is the LOWEST of any age group at 5.3%. Next lowest is for those 45 to 54, at 5.7%. Then, 33 to 44 years old at 5.9%. 25 to 34 year olds have the highest unemployment rate at 7.6%. Read those numbers one more time, age isn't a hinderance right now to getting hired, it is an advantage. Which reminds me of Shaun Paneral who was questioned by police in Carlsbad, N.M. on a loud music complaint. Concerned that there was an outstanding arrest warrant in his name, he chose his new alias badly, "Shaun Paul" was already wanted by police in N.M. Shaun now has to face additional charges for using the fake ID.
Shaun Paneral proves an important point, it's often better to just be yourself. And if you're looking for work don't run away from your age, use it. Emphasize your experience, problem-solving skills and insight. Employers apparently have seen the downside of inexperience and are now looking for workers who can hit the ground running. So get your head around this, older workers are in demand, to be honest, something I'd never thought that I'd write. Here are three Do's and one Don't to get you back in the game.
Don't play into old age stereotypes. Let's face it, many younger recruiters and hiring managers often have a lot of biases against older workers, that they're out of touch with the latest technology, that they're less flexible than younger workers and that they're lack the energy of younger workers. Do you feel your age? I don't and you probably don't either. So it's important to show this energy, spirit and smarts to potential employers.
Do solve their problems. The old T-shirt says it best, "Old age and treachery beats youth and skill every time." Use that experience to go into every job interview anticipating the problems that their facing and be prepared to offer creative solutions.
Do use your network. Your experience is important, but don't over look all the contacts that you've made during all those years in the trenches. With Linkedin and Facebook it's now easy to get back in touch with people you worked with from many years ago, people might be able to hire you.
Do keep learning. My new mantra is lifetime learning. I think of my skills as a tool box and I try to add a new tool to it on a regular basis. Take a class, read a book, or just pick a colleagues brain. Learning comes in many forms.
Follow these tips and you'll be wanted once again, not by the authorities, but by employers.
Bob Rosner is a best-selling author and award-winning journalist. For free job and work advice, check out the award-winning workplace911.com. Check the revised edition of his Wall Street Journal best seller, "The Boss's Survival Guide." If you have a question for Bob, contact him firstname.lastname@example.org.