7 Mistakes to Avoid When Job Hunting Over 50

Here are seven easy tips when looking for your next job.

These days, those 50+ are as active in offices as they are on the golf course. Many active adults are delaying retirement in favor of remaining engaged in the workforce. The job search is daunting regardless of age, however, and the challenges that hunters confront later in life differ vastly from those of applicants in their twenties and thirties. Here are seven job hunting missteps to be conscious of as you seek your next position.

1. Downplaying Your Experience

In an economy where rapid-fire transformation has become the norm, it’s important to remember that some things—like the benefits of experience—never change. While detailing every job, hobby, or accolade isn’t necessary, highlighting the most important and impactful positions and accomplishments on your resume can help potential employers focus on your career and your character.

2. Dating Your Resume

A year on the label might conjure positive assumptions when it comes to wine, but for baby boomers and beyond, dates can come loaded with dubious connotations. In general, it’s best to include only recent positions held within the last 10 to 15 years. When it comes to college attendance, feature your school and major and consider omitting your graduation date.

3. Letting Your Computer Skills Languish

Understanding software such as Microsoft Word and Excel and familiarity with browsers including Google Chrome and Firefox are standard for today’s tech-savvy applicant pool. Knowing how to efficiently navigate document creation, communication applications, and social media is rewarding in and out of the office. Take advantage of free video tutorials on YouTube to add to your existing skill set.

4. Forgetting Your Connections

With job hunting, sometimes it’s not what you know, but who you know. Creating and maintaining a profile on LinkedIn not only increases your digital presence, but allows you to further explore your personal and professional networks. Offline, make a point to reach out to friends and former coworkers to get a sense of what positions may be open or what you can do to strengthen yourself as a candidate.

5. Ignoring Company Culture

The “full package” options of a position aren’t just limited to salary, vacation time, and health insurance benefits anymore. Instead, modern offices seek to create a harmonious work-life balance and strive to hire employees who are in line with company VALUES
(. Do your due diligence and research potential workplaces on review websites like Glassdoor to make sure an environment is a good fit for your lifestyle and goals. Similarly, try not to rule out jobs based on preconceived notions of yourself or past experiences.

6. Dressing to Impress a Younger Demographic

The phrase “business casual” has taken on a new meaning in the 21st century as many workplaces have emphasized efficiency over appearance. Being well-groomed is important for establishing a great first impression, but trendy can quickly veer into tacky in a professional setting. Comfort is key; dress with authenticity and let your energy and experience speak louder than your ensemble.

7. Giving Up

With an increasingly competitive applicant pool and the prevalence of ageism, it can be tempting to call it quits on the professional chapter of your life. If you seek to continue adding to a long and full career, however, don’t let rejections end your search prematurely. Take constructive criticism to heart and the rest in stride. The “perfect job” is elusive in your twenties and may not be easier to find later in life, but that doesn’t mean a fulfilling position as an active adult is out of reach.

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