The guide to Baby Boomers re-entering the job market
Attention Baby Boomers: Although you’re technically approaching the age when people typical start thinking of retiring from the work world, that doesn’t mean you can’t be a valuable and productive part of a company or business. Or perhaps you’ve already officially retired and have decided that you’d like to re-enter the workforce in some capacity, either due to financial need or simply to keep busy and add new value to your daily routine. Baby Boomers have been traditionally characterized as a hard-working, roll up your sleeves, “can do” generation, so it stands to reason that they’d want to stay active and continue contributing to the world. If this sounds like you, and you’d like to re-enter the job market and kick off a successful job search, then keep reading!
Whatever the case may be, those of you who are looking to re-enter the job market may discover that the job search game has changed drastically in recent years–everything from rapid technological advancement to the shifting ways businesses hire to meet their staffing needs has contributed to this evolution. But that doesn’t mean you should give up your goal of finding meaningful employment at this stage of your life, or submit to frustration because of how different everything is now.
The truth is, as a Baby Boomer you have a lot to offer the professional world, including experience, finely-honed skills, and a lifetime of valuable wisdom, and it makes sense that you’d want to share it with the next generation of workers. In addition, your skills set obviously presents a positive value proposition for the companies who recognize their strength and value. But in order for you to connect to the perfect job that will allow you to best leverage your background and abilities and make positive and meaningful contributions in the workplace, you first need to get past the job search hurdle. Consider using the following strategies and advice to help you get there.
3 steps to a successful job hunt for Baby Boomers
Own your age
Some Baby Boomers who are looking to enter the workforce may initially feel the urge to somehow “mask” their ages when applying for jobs–scrubbing out or obscuring key dates on a resume is a common approach. Not only is this a short-sighted approach (unless you plan to go to interviews in disguise), but also, why hide the decades of valuable work and life experience you’ve acquired? Instead, wear your age as a badge of accomplishment and sing its praises during the job search process.
Also, establishing your ability and willingness to be flexible and learn new things–a common concern regarding older workers–is a good way to offset any initial hiring trepidation. Use your cover letters and resumes as opportunities to convince hiring personnel that your age is an asset, not a liability, and that a company that hires you will stand to benefit from everything you bring to the table. It’s also an opportunity to showcase your confidence and honesty, which savvy companies will recognize and appreciate.
Get used to new tools
Just as you probably had to learn how to use new equipment and technology during your prior lifetime of work experience, you’re going to have to get comfortable with using the new tools of job searching. You may have quickly realized this after opening your local newspaper and searching for the now nonexistent want ads section: job searching has almost exclusively moved to the digital realm. You’ll need to leverage online tools if you want to make the most of your time and find a great new job. Sure, you can also do things the old-fashioned way–some businesses still put help wanted signs in their windows and may appreciate an inquiry from someone who stops in to say hello looking for some honest work–but most jobs these days are found online.
But this notion shouldn’t fill you with dread. Many of today’s online job search tools have been designed to make job searching easier, not harder. If you’re comfortable with the basics of using a computer (going online and sending emails), then do a quick search and check out the most popular career networking and job search sites in your area and field of interest. If you’re less comfortable online, seek out the help of a friend or family member. Your local library is a great resource if you’re in need of some guidance. Trust us, after polishing up your resume, exploring the ins and outs of online job searching and applying is a worthy investment of your time.
Build and use your network
A great thing about having decades of work experience under your belt is that you probably have a small galaxy of contacts you can leverage if you’re looking to get back into the work world. A great early step when planning a job search is to think about your years of work experience. Make a list of people whom you can contact regarding possible employment opportunities. Even if a contact isn’t aware of a job offer in their immediate orbit, they may know someone they can connect you to in or adjacent to your desired field. Just reach out as much as possible and see how your network and possibilities can quickly grow. And don’t get discouraged if every contact doesn’t lead to a job offer–just stay resilient and determined. Consider your time networking as just one tool in your well-rounded job search toolkit.
If you’re an older job seeker who’s looking to jump back into the job market, invest some time in learning the new rules and tools to job searching and set yourself up for success. Good luck!
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