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Midlife job search: facts and myths

July 10 2017 - With an aging global workforce and an economy which has forced many companies to downsize, it's no wonder that many workers over the age of 40 are trying to find a new position. There are many myths about the job search which may well have been facts when you were first trying to get a position, and many that have come about through ignorance. Here's the breakdown so you can understand everything better.

Myth: You have to disclose your age

Since age discrimination is illegal, it shouldn't matter how old you are. But discrimination still exists in the world of work - which is why you shouldn't disclose your age. Carefully go through your resume and remove all references to your age, your date of birth, the date you graduated school or college, and so on. You can remove your early job history too unless it is highly relevant - you don't really need to go into anything before the last 15 years. Your edited work history should showcase your most relevant and important roles. Focus on your skills, not your age.

Myth: You can create one snappy resume to use

This is no longer the case, and an old resume can seriously date you. Take off the references and just explain that you can provide them if needed. Rather than listing skills and experience, the modern resume is more about explaining how you have contributed to success and earnings in the past. Create a new resume for each position you apply for if you really want to make a good impression. Turn it into a PDF that you can email across easily.

Fact: Job searching is now done online

Forget about circling newspaper ads with red pen - job searching these days is all about getting connected online. Your LinkedIn profile could be at least as effective as your resume. Use Facebook and Twitter to search for job openings. Head onto job listing sites to scan for the ones that could suit you, and sign up for email updates so you're always the first to know about new openings. Use your social profiles to promote yourself as a candidate.

Fact: Brushing up your wardrobe will help

Rather than heading in to an interview looking like you are over 50, you want to make a younger impression. Update your wardrobe with newer and trendier items, and make sure that they fit well. Give off a polished and professional image. Don't wear an old suit as it will simply make the interviewer wonder how many years you have been wearing it for. For women, be sure to brush up your make-up skills and carry a trendy handbag from the latest season if possible.

Fact: Networking is everything

They say it's not what you know, it's who you know. They're right. Make sure to take every opportunity to network with your peers and professionals in your industry at every level. You never know who might be able to tell you about that new opportunity opening up. Build relationships and focus on getting to know people rather than searching for a job. If you are too desperate, you won't be building stable and lasting relationships that will help you out in the future.

The job market has certainly changed, and if you are leaving one company after 15 or more years of work there, you might be surprised at what it's like now. You may even need to update your skills with new qualifications, or adapt to a new work culture that you have never experienced before. Try to think like a millennial!

Aboiut the Author

Michelle Arios works as Marketing Assistant for New Zealand business database

What Color Is Your Parachute?

What Color Is Your Parachute? 2022: A Practical Manual for Job-Hunters and Career-Changers
by Richard Nelson Bolles and Katherine Brooks
With more than 10 million copies sold in 28 countries, the world's most popular job-search book is updated for 2022. Katherine Brooks tailors the late Richard Bolles's long-trusted guidance with up-to-the-minute information and advice for today's job-hunters and career-changers.
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