Back To The Basics: Older Worker Job Searching Tactics

Important Job Search Tactics For Older Workers

Baby boomers faced with the prospect of job searching—in some cases for the first time in years—need to employ more sophisticated tactics in an overall job searching strategy.

The days of relying strictly on a resume are long gone.  While a well-written resume is still important, it’s only one tool in a job search strategy.  To really compete with younger job candidates, baby boomers need to incorporate social media, boost their education and increase networking activity for an effective job search strategy.

job search tactics - social mediaSocial Media Skills

A lot of older workers haven’t jumped on the social media bandwagon.  That’s understandable.  But for baby boomers who really want to boost their chances of getting a new job in a timely fashion, learning to use social media is a necessary job search tactic.

The good news is that it’s actually fairly simple.  The first step should be establishing a LinkedIn profile.  The best way to think about LinkedIn is that it should complement your resume, not replace it.  One of the LinkedIn features that baby boomers can really use to their advantage is the ability for posting recommendations.

Previous co-workers and managers can write glowing recommendations about your work performance in previous jobs.  This is great because it lets someone else brag about you, but it also gives a baby boomer an upper hand.   Recently graduated job searchers may be younger than you, but when it comes to work experience, they can’t compete.

A mature worker can really capitalize on the recommendations feature and prospective employers will be sure to notice those recommendations.  That’s a good way to turn age to your advantage.

Get Back On the Education Train

One of the issues that baby boomers face can be lack of education.  In the 60’s and 70’s it was common for capable individuals to get great jobs with just a high school education.  Many of those people proved to be exceptionally competent and went on to rise into corporate ranks and often managed people who had tertiary qualifications.

But when baby boomers have to go back into a highly competitive job market without formal qualifications, they face a serious disadvantage.

One of the ways that baby boomers can become more competitive is to seek recognition for prior learning, or to complete a short but highly regarded course specifically in their area of expertise. Your experience can enable you to do post-graduate study or take part in senior management courses in business or management.  Starting a full degree may not be especially attractive, but there are so many options available to you.  These offer flexibility and can augment a resume that features a lot of experience but little post-secondary education.

Network Effectively

Networking is another tactic that tends to produce results when searching for a new job.  If you’re just back in the job market after years of employment and no networking experience, it’s an important step and it can actually be enjoyable.

Two components of networking that you should be pursuing involve using your LinkedIn profile to leverage new contacts within your desired industry as well as good old-fashioned person-to-person networking.

It’s important to reach out to professional contacts and arrange lunch meetings and occasional dinners.  Getting to know people within a company is important.  Leveraging friendships works.  Knowing someone within an organization who will recommend you is still one of the best ways into a company because a highly placed employee giving your resume to HR is always going to be more.

If you integrate social media with continuing education and good networking practices, you’ll be a lot better positioned to find a good job than many of your contemporaries.

[Updated and republished April 20, 2019}

Jenni Proctor

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