Two commonly cited reasons employers do not hire older workers include:
1. Mental Flexibility. Older workers are perceived as less likely to learn new things so employers would rather avoid them all together.
2. Pay. Generally speaking employers feel younger workers are more motivated and have smaller family responsibilities so they can pay them less and work them harder.
So what are some solutions to help forty and fifty year old professionals find a job?
First, shorten your resume and use your cover letter to address concerns. When preparing your resume it is best to only include the last 10 to 15 years - including more is generally not relevant and may tip your hand. Second, address any perceived weaknesses in your cover letter and highlight experiences that are not easily discussed in your resume. For specific pointers on preparing a resume read my article “Tips for a Successful Job Search”.
Second, understand that more likely than not you will have to take a pay cut to get a job. Older workers who have been laid off or fired are typically offered a lower salary.
Third, stay current and up to date with the latest and greatest in your field; this way an employer will know you have the skills and knowledge to do the job. On a related note, when you finally get another job vie for projects that will have a tangible impact on the organization – either make the company money or save the company money. This way you can easily articulate your value to an employer.
Understanding the reasons behind a problem are the first steps toward solving it. Now with the knowledge at your disposal and practical tips to address it you can change your situation and get back to work. It will not be easy but you will eventually succeed. Be sure to read my “Think Before You Send” and “Job Search Formula for Success” articles for general job search tips.
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