Job Searching Over 50: Common Mistakes to Avoid

Cropped shot of a thoughtful mature businessman working on a laptop in an office

So many job hunting advice columns focus on those just out of college or professionals only a few years into their career. What if your years are a little more “golden” than that?

Finding a new job at 50, 60, or older can seem challenging. There are many unique considerations that lead to common pitfalls. If you’re job searching later in life, you can still find the success you desire. The Five O’Clock Club career coaches share the five common mistakes so you can avoid them in your job hunt.

No LinkedIn

There’s a stereotype that the older a person is, the less tech-savvy they are. This isn’t necessarily true, as some of the smartest techies also sport gray hair and smile lines. However, even if you’re tech savvy, you may grumble that you don’t have time for social media. When it comes to LinkedIn, that’s a big mistake. This professional platform is an important way to establish your personal brand and show your credentials. If you don’t have one, some recruiters may completely dismiss your application.

Dated resume

If your resume looks frighteningly similar to how it looked in the ’80s, you desperately need a refresh. Resumes have evolved. Length, format, organization, and terminology change continuously, so it’s wise for everyone to update their resume, even when not job hunting. What’s more, different industries call for different resumes, so make sure your resume fits the bill. If you’re unsure, work with a career coach to revise so you get noticed in a positive light.

Confusing age and experience

Yes, with age comes wisdom, but too often people think that the more working years they have under their belt, the better they are compared to other candidates. News flash: age is different than experience. To get noticed, you need to have relevant experience and be able to tell stories to prove it. If you’re lacking critical experience, don’t be too proud. Take a class, join an industry organization, and brush up on what you need to do to get the job you really want.

Awkward interviews

You’re 50 and walk into an interview for a job you’re really excited about. The boss for the open job enters the room ready to interview you, and she looks to be in her early 30s. You’re oblivious to your subtle attitude changes, but the would-be boss is certainly reading the signs. You’re uncomfortable and ultimately won’t be a good fit for the job. Don’t let interview surprises like these catch you off guard. Be prepared and always handle yourself professionally.

No follow-up

“If they wanted me, they would have contacted me,” says the grumpy old man, who will continue to be grumpy because he won’t get a job with that strategy. Today’s job search is multifaceted and requires job seekers to take charge of their future. This includes sending thank-you notes post interview, following up as necessary with recruiters, and contacting hiring managers once the appropriate time has passed. Keep in mind, you want to seem interested, but not desperate. Follow up, but don’t be a pest.

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