By Ken Sher
Do you ever wonder what your job and career prospects will be like when you’re 40, 50 or 60+ years old?
You may be surprised to learn that your prospects can actually be pretty good.
Statistics show that it takes the average manager/director level person about 6-9 months to find a job in today’s market. It might take a little longer as an older job seeker, but it is very realistic to expect to get a job even in the later years of your career.
Now that’s not to say there isn’t some age discrimination in the job market. I think we all know there is, but there is also a need for seasoned, experienced leaders in every organization.
Leaders are needed at every level and it’s not just by title. Every team, at different times, could have different people step forward as an informal or formal leader. The question is, how do you position yourself to get the opportunities you’re looking for?
Henry Ford said, “Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t–you’re right.”
It all starts with the right mindset. Do you believe you will find a great opportunity or do you have the opposite perspective? Do you believe, “I’m too old and nobody wants to hire me” or “they want to hire younger people who they can pay a lot less than they’d have to pay me”?
If this is your point of view, then you are doomed to fail to restart your career. You might not be aware of the negative impact this type of thinking has on people, but it is significant. It’s important in a job search to have a positive, can-do attitude.
An optimistic approach comes through in everything you do. People feel it in their interactions with you and they hear it in answers to interview questions as well.
Having a good attitude is not a “sometimes” thing that can be turned on and off at will. It’s important, not only for your job search but for your overall well-being, to keep a positive outlook on all aspects of your life.
So, what do you have to do at 50+/- years old to show that you are a great candidate for a position? First, think about your personal brand. Do your resume, LinkedIn™ profile, and other promotional materials present you as a modern, cutting edge professional? Do you come across as old school?
This all starts with your email address. Are you still using AOL™ or have you upgraded to Gmail™? You need to make sure it is clear that you are up to date on industry trends, marketplace issues, and technology through your email address, resume, LinkedIn profile and cover letter.
Lastly, you must present yourself in interviews with energy and enthusiasm while proactively demonstrating your knowledge of what’s impacting the business today and how you might industry problems.
As you prepare for an interview, prepare responses to interview questions that include examples of how you used technology to solve a problem or enhance a process. You need to be ready to talk about a specific situation when your experience allowed you to lead a team to success. You need to show a passion for learning and be able to provide examples of how you have stayed current with your knowledge.
So, what are your career prospects like when you’re 50+/- years old? Well, they’re pretty good as long as you have the right approach, attitude, and interviewing skills to convey the benefits that you can bring to an organization. You can do it on your own or, perhaps more effectively, by working with a career coach to help you develop and present your persona in the best way possible.
Ken Sher is a Career and Life Coach who focuses on the whole person when helping them with professional or personal issues they are trying to manage. If you would like to reach out to Ken, please call him at (215) 262-0528 or email him at shercoaching.com.