Steps for Landing a Job When you are 50 and Older

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If you’re over-55 and job hunting, you know that it can be particularly tough sledding, and you need a thick hide.

Here are five key steps for snagging a potential employer’s interest and landing an interview. They come from Tucker Mays and Bob Sloane, who are the principals of OptiMarket,  an executive job search coaching firm. They also are co-authors of the book, Fired at 50:  How to Overcome the Greatest Executive Job Search Challenge.

  1. Address the age issue and don’t be defensive. Offer examples in your career history that reinforce your “agelessness” by offering examples of your ability to solve problems, manage people, exercise good judgment and offer leadership.
  2. Show you are flexible. Describe how you have modified your approach to fit different challenges and varied business cultures. Talk about the times you’ve had to adjust to changing priorities, make quick decisions with limited information, produce with fewer resources, and manage individuals on a team that did not report to you.
  3. Cite your success working for a younger boss. Talk about times when you enabled a younger boss or bosses to succeed, grow and advance their careers. You will be less likely to be considered a threat when you demonstrate that you respect authority and are committed to advancing the career of younger supervisors — as well as advancing your own career.
  4. Be flexible about pay. Be willing to accept less salary up front in exchange for a greater performance-based bonus and or equity. When asked what your salary requirements are, mention that once you learn more about the job requirements and the company’s full compensation structure (salary, bonus, profit sharing, perks, equity etc) you will be in a better position to answer. Also, say that given your strong interest in the job, you will be flexible and are confident that you will reach an agreement comfortable for both parties.
  5. Demonstrate that you are entrepreneurial. Stress your ability to combine large company experience with small company skills.

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