I have the pleasure of working with amazing professionals in their fifties who long to revamp their career lives. We all face career challenges, such as short term employments, returning to work after years of caring for children or relatives, and contract work appearing unattractive on resumes. Some challenges are easier to overcome than others. One of the most prominent challenges professionals in their 50s face is being close to retire from the workforce, but still having at least a decade to offer their valuable skills to employers.
Some of the people I work with within this age range pursue a position that aligns with their career trajectory, but others come to brand and market themselves for a different industry.
So – here are my 5 tips for those in their 50s who are in a similar situation.
Make a connection: Make sure you can make a connection with your target position. Your background should be at least 70% similar to your target jobs. You must be realistic about your transition. If not, you will probably take a few years to make it.
Modernize yourself: Learn current employment and branding strategies. You must market yourself to your target audience, especially if you are changing careers – in your 50s. Make your resume modern, create a strategic LinkedIn profile, and follow current and practical job search strategies. Do not spend so much time filling out job applications when they clearly do not work for the majority of applicants.
Be healthy: Present yourself in a competent way. Are you healthy and fit? These two lifestyles surely make a difference in the energy you convey and the appearance you present – literally.
Revamp your resume: Your resume is the place you want to show employers you are up to par with current technologies and marketing standards. There is a vast difference between a dull and generic resume and a creative professionally crafted resume.
Tip: As much as you want employers to know you have 25 years of experience in a particular field, do not specifically state that on your resume. That will trigger age biases. Instead, write, “More than 15 years…” 15 years is a number of years that shows you have current and up to date experience in your target position or industry. If your experience in the particular job was at jobs prior to 15 years, there are resume writing strategies you can use to show them without focusing on the dates.
Don’t belittle the information the younger hiring manager is presenting you. This is something older professionals tend to do. They tend to convey they already know what the younger hiring manager is explaining – been there, done that. Although you probably have, show your innovate side and suggest new ways you would achieve the goals you are being presented with. Use your wit to make the younger person who is interviewing you (and could possibly be your immediate supervisor) that you are the one they would want to spend at least 40 hours a week with. Make them feel as though you are part of the team.
Start by designing your personal brand. What do you have to offer? What are your valuable assets? What qualifications distinguish you from your 30 year old competitors? The answers to these questions should be the basis for your most important marketing document, your resume.
Once you have decided which jobs to pursue, research the companies you would like to target. Ensure the message your resume conveys aligns with the mission and culture of your target companies. This will make a subconscious connection with the hiring manager and it is a strategy I like to use when I write resumes.
Compete With Power
As you conduct your company research, try to follow the SWOT analysis guidelines to discover the organization’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. Jot down notes about how their competitors are excelling and discuss ways you can help the company increase their business success during the interview. This will make the interview more meaningful, as opposed to following the same interview protocol the hiring manager has done for every other candidate. Also, developing a proactive interview discussion will surely place you in the spotlight; thus, you will be remembered.
One of the main reasons hiring managers do not consider qualified candidates is because of their lack of company knowledge. Employers know when a candidate has researched the company. This is made evident during the interview, as those who have researched the company will talk about what they discovered and will incorporate their knowledge of the company in their plan of action.
If you are in your 50s and long to revamp your career lives, the tips on this article should bring you closer to your goals. These branding practices will help you overcome the career challenges you might have.