business

Job-Hunting Tips for Midlife Career Changers

If you've been out of the job market for a while, here's how to jump-start your search.

Changing careers is daunting, especially if you haven’t applied for a job since social media burst onto the scene. But even though age discrimination is real, it’s not as pervasive as some older workers believe, says Mary Eileen Williams, a career counselor and author of Land the Job You Love: 10 Surefire Strategies for Jobseekers Over 50. Williams says the key to overcoming stereotypes about older workers is to get your foot in the door through a personal referral. That will also help your résumé stand out from the thousands of responses employers receive for job postings. When it comes to finding a job, Williams says, “it’s still who you know—I don’t care how big the Internet is.”

That doesn’t mean you should ignore the Web and social media. You should have a profile on LinkedIn that showcases your skills, and you can also read job postings on LinkedIn to identify the types of skills potential employers are seeking.

In addition, LinkedIn job listings can help you determine whether you need to learn new skills to remain competitive. If so, Khan Academy, a nonprofit Web site, offers free video tutorials on everything from statistics to computer programming. GCFLearnFree, sponsored by Goodwill Industries, also offers free online tutorials on computer basics, such as Microsoft Excel.

You’ve probably compiled a lengthy résumé, and it’s important to manage it strategically. Resist the temptation to e-mail dozens of résumés before breakfast every day. Instead, create a template and customize it to suit the job you’re applying for. “It’s better to send out two customized résumés a week than 5,000 that are boilerplate,” says Williams.

Don’t include your entire work history on your résumé. Most employers are only interested in what you’ve done for the past ten to 15 years, Williams says. She recommends including a section titled “Ongoing Professional Development” that details online or college courses you’ve taken to keep your skills up-to-date.

Finally, when you’re talking to potential employers, focus on areas where your age is an asset, not a liability. Have you pacified a disgruntled client or customer? Worked with someone who had a difficult personality? “All employers want problem solvers,” Williams says. “When you’ve reached midlife and beyond, you’ve solved a ton of problems.”

Most Popular

Your Guide to Roth Conversions
Special Report
Tax Breaks

Your Guide to Roth Conversions

A Kiplinger Special Report
February 25, 2021
Dividend Increases: 14 Stocks That Have Doubled Their Payouts
dividend stocks

Dividend Increases: 14 Stocks That Have Doubled Their Payouts

Looking for companies executing substantial dividend increases? These 14 stocks have upped the payout ante by a minimum of 100% this year.
November 26, 2021
Resist the Impulse to Buy These 14 Holiday Gifts
shopping

Resist the Impulse to Buy These 14 Holiday Gifts

Don't let those holiday sale promotions persuade you into buying something now that will be much cheaper later.
November 18, 2021

Recommended

Bias at Work: How to Defuse a Ticking Time Bomb in Your Organization
careers

Bias at Work: How to Defuse a Ticking Time Bomb in Your Organization

An interview with the author of the book “Bias Interrupted” reveals hidden signs of bias in the workplace and offers ideas for what to do to help corr…
November 26, 2021
The Biden Tax Plan: How the Build Back Better Act Could Affect Your Tax Bill
Politics

The Biden Tax Plan: How the Build Back Better Act Could Affect Your Tax Bill

Depending on your income, the Build Back Better Act recently passed by the House could boost or cut your future tax bills.
November 22, 2021
Watch Out for Job Listing Fraud
Scams

Watch Out for Job Listing Fraud

If one of your New Year’s resolutions is to find new employment in 2022, be on guard against job-listing scams.
November 22, 2021
What’s Stopping You from Making the Jump to a New Career?
careers

What’s Stopping You from Making the Jump to a New Career?

From procrastination to negative thoughts to paralyzing fear, here are 11 things that hold people back from taking a chance on a fresh start. Check th…
November 12, 2021