Many people believe that it is nearly impossible to find a job after 50, especially when the job market is bad. It might be difficult, but if you plan it well, your age and experience might well become your asset, and help you get a job more easily.
But how can you go about it?
Make the best of your experience. Older people generally have valuable skills in people management, leadership and problem-solving, among other things. You have to highlight these traits in yourself through what you say in your resume and your interview. You have to make your potential employer feel that you will be an asset not only because of your skills in the job, but also for these additional abilities.
Use your network. One of the major advantages that older job-seekers have is that they have a huge number of contacts and a well-established network. Spread the word amongst your contacts, and see if they know of any openings anywhere. Referrals work best, and if you have so far maintained a good reputation about the kind of worker you are, you won't find it difficult to get somebody to refer you for a job.
Search right. Though age-related discrimination is illegal, it certainly exists. So do your homework well. Look for those companies which value older people. For instance, some legal and financial service firms might have clients who prefer to deal with senior people, and your age and experience will be an asset to the firm. Similarly, some companies might prefer candidates who are ready to start work from the word go, and might not want to waste time training new recruits. On the other hand, there are startups which are populated entirely by young people straight out of college, where you just might not fit in. So, do research before you apply, instead of wasting your time.
Take stock of your requirements. Now that you are looking for a new job, ask yourself if there are things you want to change about your life. Would you want to venture into another field that you had always wanted to work in? Are you fed up of the commute, and would you not mind taking a salary cut if you could walk to work? Weigh your options. They might be different now, after all these years. And then look for a job accordingly.
Take a re-look at your attitude. Many people are daunted by the prospect of being interviewed by persons younger than themselves, or even by ending up working under young bosses. You might want to get a young friend to engage you in a mock-interview. In fact, it even helps if you apply for a job you are not interested in, so that you can have a practice interview, where you can assess the areas where you need some improvement, and then work on them. Besides, older people are assumed to be inflexible. Prove with examples that you are adaptable and are open to new ideas, technology and approaches.
Freshen-up your resume. If you have been working in the same company for a long time, chances are that your resume is not up-to-date. So spend some time working on it. Besides, resume trends change very quickly. So it is possible that what you think is fine is outdated as far as resumes go. In that case, it will help if you get professional help.
Concentrate on recent and relevant experience. In your resume, cover letter and interview, focus only on what you have done in the last ten years or so. Resist listing out everything you've ever done, and stick to only those points that portray well your skills and talent that is required for the job you are applying for.
Upgrade your skills. Many tend to consider older people outdated as far as new skills and technology goes. Don't give them the chance to say that in your case. Wherever possible, go in for training, or ask a colleague to help you get familiarized with new technology. Or take a refresher course, or get some help online. There are a number of avenues of learning in this era of the internet, like Coursera and Udacity. Universities like MIT and Stanford also offer online learning options. Here is another list of such universities.
So there you have it. Some of the major ways you can search for an appropriate job. And remember, any search take time. So the most important thing is – stick with it, and you will be sure of success!