Monday, September 12, 2011


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Let's face it. Age discrimination still exists when it comes to hiring new staff. So whether you are an older worker who has been laid off, a homemaker eager to return to the work force, or a retiree seeking a career change, you might want to read this first before you begin your job search. It may have been a number of years since your last job interview.

Here are some tips on how you can increase your chances of getting job offers.
  1. Leverage on your wealth of work experience and achievements. Find out the company's needs, and convince them you can deliver results. But guard against coming across as "over-qualified".
  2. Draw attention to your key strengths. Older workers are mature, responsible, loyal, meticulous, trustworthy and reliable. Convince the interviewers that you are the best person for the job, that you can also be a mentor to younger co-workers.
  3. Be prepared to accept lower pay, lower position and reduced employee benefits.
  4. Exude confidence and enthusiasm, whether it's in the image you project or in the handshake at the job interview. Don't be apologetic about your age.
  5. Be current. Find out about the latest developments in the industry that you plan to enter, and some background about the company.
  6. Revamp your resume and bring it up to date. Discard old formats of job application letters. Submit a recent and decent photo of yourself. Don't be happy with half measures.
  7. Be internet-savvy and computer literate. Know what skills are required for the job and learn them.
  8. Be open to receiving constructive criticisms. Acknowledge that you may not always be the Ms Know-All, or Mr Have-Seen-It-All.
  9. Learn to listen more and talk less. Older folks have a tendency to go on and on relating their experiences and anecdotes. Guard against this especially at interviews.
  10. Don't make assumptions or take anything for granted. Always be on your toes and remain alert. You don't want to be labelled 'clueless', 'slow' or worse, 'senile' 
In the meantime, you might want to start working on your health and fitness. Remember you are competing against younger job-seekers for the same vacancy. If you need an image makeover, go for it. But, ladies, go easy on the make-up and accessories. Less is more when it comes to grooming.

Be pro-active in your job search. If you sit around expecting people to come to you with job offers, you will end up waiting forever. Unless you have already made a name for yourself in your previous career, no head-hunter will come knocking on your door. Cover not only the classifieds in the papers, but more importantly, online job agencies as well.

Join social networking circles. Attend talks, seminars, conferences where you get to meet people who might be able to offer you a job or recommend you to someone who is hiring. Market yourself at every opportunity. To save on costs, seek out free avenues to get your name mentioned or listed, for instance, sign up on Linkedin, write letters to the papers to comment on an issue, or contribute articles to magazines.

Never pass up an opportunity to give a talk or volunteer your service pro bono. One thing may lead to another, and you might get lucky. Make sure you leave your name card if you want to be contactable.

Wear a smile always. It wins you more friends, and removes at least 10 years from your face. When you are ready, commence on your job hunt with a positive frame of mind.

Good luck!

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