Nanci Hellmich of USA Today conducted an interview recently with Cash Nickerson, who has written a book on the subject of getting/staying employed in one’s Golden Years, entitled BOOMERangs: Engaging the Aging Workforce in America (Charles Pinot). I’ve not yet read the book, only the referenced interview, and in that interview, author Nickerson dispenses a lot of sound advice about how to handle interviews, the assembly of resumes, and some interesting portals through which to travel to become re-employed as an older American.
On this overall topic, I would add a few other suggestions to those mentioned in the article by Mr. Nickerson (he may touch on these subjects in his book, but I do not know). For one thing, you will want to be Internet-savvy. The days when it was sort of charming for a grown person to be unable to move comfortably about the Internet have long passed; now, it’s just irritating, particularly in the workplace. For one thing, many jobs have relevance in the Internet, even indirectly, so having little working knowledge in the area, besides being able to send an email or access your favorite website, is likely a job-killer. Not only should you be well-acquainted with the Internet, more generally, but you should be versed in social media applications like Facebook and Twitter, as well. Dynamic businesses nowadays have substantial and constant presences on social media, and so even if you are not applying for a job to oversee a company’s social media operations, there can be any number of reasons each day why your solid comprehension of the principal forms of social media will be necessary. Something else – if you cannot “speak the language” of the Internet and social media, you will appear starkly old and out-of-place to employers, which brings me to my next point:
Make every effort to appear, both physically and otherwise, as youthful as is reasonably possible. This may seem unfair, at first blush, but the reality is that companies are, understandably, interested in hiring those people who have a lot of energy to tap, as well as people who will mesh well with the workforce in place, most of whom will be younger. I interacted with an older, frustrated job seeker recently who bemoaned the fact he was having a difficult time getting hired with his brand new master’s degree. Unfortunately, this fellow, during our conversation, struck me as old – he complained of having various aches and pains, had clearly done nothing to present a more youthful, more vibrant appearance, and, in his attitude and speaking tone, just sounded old. The reality is that while he may be very qualified, another question that companies have to be able to answer in the affirmative is, “Do I want this person as a physical presence in my company each day?”
Is there age-ism in the workplace? Of course there is. However, there are ways to make yourself a truly interesting, competitive job candidate when you find yourself over 50, but you will often have to make a special effort to do so. The reality is that, in this day and age, when corporate climates are more advanced and hyperactive than ever, you have to be sure that you’ll fit right in if you expect to have a good shot at securing employment in your Golden Years.