When I look in the mirror, for the first 5 seconds I still see a twenty- year -old. Then the visible wrinkles around my eyes and jowls provide a friendly reminder that I’m not twenty anymore. At that moment in the mirror, I challenge myself physically as I don’t feel like I’m over forty, and the face I’m looking at cannot be accurate, but according to my birth certificate, it is. I mean, hell, I still feel young, so how can I look so different? Simply put, I’m just a twenty-year-old that now has twenty-five years of work experience, a family, and has journeyed through the ups and downs of life.
In 2024, women over 65 will make up roughly the same percentage of the female workforce as older men do of the male workforce. Additionally, twice as many women over 55 will be in the labor force as women ages 16-24.
Knowing the stigma, knowing the numbers, and the reality, what is the best way to approach finding a new job later in life?
Here are 6 tips when looking for a new job over the age of 40:
1. Use your Network
Sending our resumes to career websites will do nothing for us. We get pushed aside as we are categorized. The tip here is to use our network of colleagues, former business associates and friends to find companies who are hiring and will have a genuine interest in what we can do for their organizations. This method does work. Finding like -minded individuals with the same goals of working smart and getting stuff done will provide the best platform for finding a new working environment.
2. Show off your skills
At this point in our careers, we have a proven list of accomplishments and skillsets. We have navigated some of our toughest times and have already been through the learning. Because of this we require less training and possess the right skills, because yeah, we know how to do it. We need to show off our confidence and accolades to a potential employer. They need to know that our leadership skills and experience will fit in flawlessly with their company.
3. Be bold
We can ask harder questions in the interview process and as an employee. Perhaps questions that challenge company methods or goals. If anything as women, unfortunately, we have been taught to be compliant and agreeable to get through the stepping -stones of our careers. We don’t have to do that anymore. We have arrived. Work experience has taught us to think quickly, make decisions and share opinions. We have a lot to teach, and hiring companies need to appreciate this.
4. Seek a mentor, be a mentor
In recent weeks I have had great women mentor me. Women of a certain age. Women who are drama free, make sh*t happen and don’t sweat the small stuff. I appreciate them, have learned from them and have committed to do the same for others. This is important as this will help us change the tide and break the stigma.
5. We are already tech savvy
Much to the disbelief of others, age doesn’t stifle our tech knowledge. It’s who we are as a society. Most of us already use work related apps like Zoom, Slack, Dropbox and others. The point is, our tech knowledge isn’t lacking, so that is no excuse for hiring companies or managers. We are already there. This is not a hinderance.
6. Be Open:
Even though our working years may have been dedicated to a single industry like medical, tech or education, be open to something new. Exploring a new line of business can work in our favor. The skills that we have honed in our years are transferrable and can apply to new roles. So, commit to trying something different, outside of what is known and familiar. Not only will it feel exciting, it also widens the playing field and will present more opportunities.
Holly Caplan is a workplace issues expert, career coach and author of Surviving the Dick Clique: A Girl's Guide to Surviving the Male Dominated Corporate World. For more information, please visit, www.hollycaplan.com and connect with her on Twitter, @hollymcaplan.