By Amanda Schagane, Contributing Columnist
Lexington Herald Leader, March 30, 2018 —
Are you older than 50 and job searching in 2018?
Here are two important things to remember: You are not alone and you have so much to offer.
Your years of experience give you valuable transferable skills like communication, adaptability and problem solving. You have the knowledge base and ability to mentor less experienced employees, which is valuable at any company.
Kerry Hannon with AARP The Magazine shares these eight common mistakes older job seekers make on the AARP website.
Do not make the mistake of falling into these common pitfalls.
1. Kicking back and taking a break — Stay active in your field of expertise. Employers are not looking for couch potatoes. Attend local professional association meetings and continue to network in your field.
2. Using dated email accounts — If you are still using an AOL or Yahoo email address, you are dating yourself. Set up a professional outlook or gmail account using some combination of your name such as email@example.com.
3. Missing a digital presence — Recruiters are researching candidates on the Internet. Set up a basic LinkedIn profile using the content from your resume. Follow companies of interest and join networking groups within LinkedIn. Your LinkedIn profile privacy settings should be open. You want recruiters to find this professional content.
4. Lacking salary flexibility — Temper your salary expectations. Yes, you likely have more experience than other candidates, but receiving an offer for less than you were making in your last job is not meant to be insulting, it’s just the nature of business.
Consider asking for more vacation days or opportunities for flextime. At the end of the day, the job is about more than the salary figure. Be realistic about what salary you need to maintain your lifestyle.
5. Overlooking contacts — Don’t forget about those that you already know. LinkedIn makes it easy to see second-degree contacts (you know someone that can introduce you to a new contact) that work at a company of interest. Stay in contact with former colleagues as well.
6. Overdoing your resume — Keep your draft to one or two pages and focus on what is most recent and relevant to the jobs you are seeking. Highlight results and accomplishments. Note skills that you developed and honed during the experience. Have a detail-oriented friend proofread your draft prior to submitting it in an application.
7. Ruling out jobs — Job descriptions can be vague or very detailed. Often the job description is limited in describing what the daily life in a role can be. Do not over think the text included in the description. If most of the description is interesting, apply and you can learn more about the role in an interview setting.
8. Waiting for the “perfect job” — Avoid romanticizing a previous role. Remember, there’s more that can make a job great than just the job function. The environment, a great colleague or two, a collaborative team or workplace flexibility can help to offset a role that’s not a 100 percent perfect fit.
Avoiding these common mistakes can certainly get you on the right track for your job search. Local career expert and President/Founder of Career Span, Inc., Carla Hunter recommends that job seekers over 50 do the following:
▪ Take LinkedIn seriously. Build your profile on a continual basis.
▪ Determine the top companies you want to work for and search with intentionality.
▪ Recognize you’re not alone even though it may feel like it. Reach out to our local job club.
▪ Sheer grit and determination are vital to landing your next offer.
Amanda Schagane serves as a career coach in the Gatton College of Business & Economics at UK. She is designated a Master Career Counselor by the National Career Development Association and has served as president for the Kentucky chapter of the organization.