Strategies for Job Seekers Over 40

Many older professionals are fearful about job searching. Some are concerned their age may prevent them from finding a job, while others are concerned they may have to compromise in order to get the position that they want. These concerns are real and legitimate. While it is true that the workforce has changed and competition for jobs has increased, it does not mean you should give up your search. The right attitude and perspective can get you closer to your goal. Below are a few strategies to help you stay focused and yield positive results in your job search.   

Do Your Research
Decide early the type of organizations or industries that are a good fit for your background, skills, and experience. Be strategic in thinking about the kind of companies you want to work for.

Be Tech-Savvy
Today’s job search involves the use of technology. Show potential employers you are comfortable with technology by having a presence on social media sites (e.g., LinkedIn) and communicating professionally via email. Many employers are using social media sites to post jobs and expect job seekers to visit and apply for jobs on those platforms.

Transform Your Resume
The purpose of a resume is to get you an interview. Your resume needs to communicate why they should call you. Avoid long paragraphs and outdated information, and be sure to include design elements such as strategic bolding, capitalization, bullets, and enough white space so it is easy to read.

Know How to Sell Yourself in an Interview
Use concrete examples of your competencies and skills during interviews. Employers want to know if you can do what you described on your resume. Explain the “how” behind your accomplishments, show enthusiasm, and demonstrate that you can be the solution to a problem.

Enlist the Help of Your Network
When it comes to a job search, it can take a village. Make sure to tap into your network during this time and provide them with specific information that they can share with their connections should the opportunity present itself. When you reach out to someone, be specific about what you are asking for. For example, are you seeking job leads, postings, informational interviews, or new contacts?

Sure, job searching later in life can be intimidating, but by following these strategies throughout your search, you may be able to alleviate some unnecessary stressors and focus on finding a great opportunity.

Keep in mind that UMUC Career Services is available to help you in every stage of your career. Visit CareerQuest to utilize its career tools, access the UMUC Career Mentor Program, or to set up an appointment with a UMUC Career Advising Specialist.

Rhoda Smackum is a career advising specialist at University of Maryland University College. She is an associate certified career coach and a certified master of career services. Her areas of expertise include career transition, career exploration and job search strategy.