MONTCLAIR, NJ - Studies suggest that increased life expectancies have many feeling like 60 is the new 40. While that may appear valid in some regards, job hunters may not exactly agree. Some even wonder if just the opposite is true.
A couple of years ago, reports showed the median age of New Jersey residents as 42.7.
Just because someone lives in an age-restricted community doesn’t mean they’re ready to throw in the towel when it comes to working. In fact, a significant number of people need to wait until they’re eligible for medical benefits through Medicare.
So, what does this all mean when it comes to looking for a job? And, why could 40 possibly be the new 60 as far as seeking employment?
While age discrimination is prohibited by law, it doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist. It’s particularly hard to prove when the job seeker can’t even get in the door for an interview.
A recruiter who spoke on the condition of anonymity explained, “Employers think that once people hit 40, they’re already set in their ways,” she revealed. “Besides, older workers think their experience means they’re entitled to more money.”
Quick Tips for “Older” Job Hunters
The first goal is getting in the door. An AARP survey found that a great number of people over age 45 suffered ageism in employment.
Resumes serve as a means of introduction for just about every job hunter. Anyone who suspects their age is impeding their job search should consider some practical advice.
In the first place, employment positions shouldn’t be listed that date back more than fifteen years ago. Education and certifications prove critical on resumes. However, it’s considered acceptable to include degrees and achievements without noting graduation dates.
Generations of baby boomers were encouraged to stay with the same job for years. Those who moved up the ranks can list each position and promotion as though each was separate.
Technology has changed the way recruiters look for employees. Often, a computer scans potential applicants before human eyes have a chance for review. Targeted keywords often get results in moving to the next step.
The reality is that even with reports of low unemployment rates, many people have fallen in between the cracks. The statistics don’t address underemployment. And, it may sometimes make sense to tailor a resume to transfer skills to a profession that has more needs.
The State of New Jersey’s Career Connections provides a Demand Occupations List. It’s an excellent place to begin when considering alternative use of skills and experience. This same resource offers information regarding requisite credentials needed for various types of employment.
In the meantime, just because 40 is the new 60 to some employers, doesn’t necessarily represent a negative. Some recognize the value in maturity and experience.
Perception is everything. Those who secure an interview can overcome objections with humility and confidence. While age might seem a deterrent, it can also act as a means to showcase skills and knowledge.
Once again, it all starts with a resume that gets the applicant an audience. And, plenty of websites will coach job seekers as they move to the next step.
In the end, older workers may find themselves taking on different careers. For some, it may be an awakening to a better job than they ever imagined!
Stephanie A. Faughnan is a local journalist and Director of Writefully Inspired, a professional writing and resume service. Feel free to contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.