May 2015 Career Report Issue # 183


Career Report

May 2015

 Feature Story

Bob Larson, CPC President Berman Larson Kane
Bob Larson, CPC President Berman Larson Kane


Finding a new job can be a lot of work for many, but it can be especially challenging for anyone in their 50s and 60s. And while the unemployment rate for older workers is lower than that of younger workers, once out of work older workers seem to have greater difficulties landing a new position than others. In fact, according to an AARP data analysis cited in a U.S. News & World Report article, the average duration of unemployment for job seekers was 55 weeks as of December 2014, compared with 28.2 weeks for younger workers.

To help older workers in their quest to find a new position, here from the U.S. News & World Report article are seven strategies to consider:

Start your job search right away. Don’t wait until your unemployment runs out to start looking for a new position. “It does seem like prospects are best for the unemployed as soon as they leave their jobs, so it might be a good idea to start job searching in earnest right at the beginning, rather than easing into job searching while on unemployment,” said Joanna Lahey, an associate professor at Texas A&M University, who studies age discrimination. A large gap on your résumé and a growing sense of frustration with the job search process can make it even more difficult to get hired aging.

Work you network. Although there are certainly many modern ways to find jobs online and through social media, having contacts at the company you would like to work for is still one of the best ways to find out about openings and get hired. “The number one way to find a job is through personal contacts,” Lahey pointed out. “You can avoid a lot of implicit discrimination if someone who knows you is willing to vouch for you.”

Reassure a younger manager. Some managers may feel uncomfortable supervising someone who is more experienced than they are. “The big thing to keep in mind is that the person supervising you or making the hiring decision may well be younger than you are, and insecure about supervising someone with more experience,” said Peter Cappelli, a management professor and director of the Center for Human Resources at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School. “So it is important to let them know you are OK with the role you’re applying for, that you don’t want their job and that you are expecting to take direction from them.”

Don’t mention your age or the interviewer’s age. You don’t want to call attention to your age by listing jobs you held over 20 years ago on your résumé or mentioning age during the interview process. Equally as important, don’t comment on the age of a younger manager. “Even if the person interviewing you is no older than your children, never make any reference to their age thinly veiled or otherwise,” said Nancy Collamer, a career coach and author of  “Second-Act Careers: 50+ Ways to Profit from Your Passions During Semi-Retirement.”

Shorten your résumé. You don’t need to include every position you have ever held on your résumé. “Don’t make your résumé a history lesson. Highlight your most recent achievements and the new talents you’re acquiring,” Collander said. “In general, you should keep the spotlight on the last 10 years of relevant experience.”

Explain why you’re not overqualified. Having 20 or 30 years of work experience can make you seem overqualified for many positions. “Make sure your cover letter explains why you’re right for the job you’re applying to,” Lahey said. “Explain any gaps or why you’re applying for something for which it seems like you’re overqualified.”

Demonstrate your fluency with technology. Older workers are often perceived as being unable to effectively use technology. Make it clear to potential employers that you are tech-savvy and continuing to keep up with new developments. “I think the single most important thing you can do to overcome age bias is to demonstrate your comfort with technology and social media during the interview process,” Collamer said. “There are lots of different ways to subtly let potential employers know you’re tech-friendly: [For example] include your LinkedIn URL on your résumé, mention an interesting article you found on the employer’s Twitter feed or be a regular contributor to industry-related groups on LinkedIn.”

News from BLK:

National job creation numbers continue to disappoint analysts during March and April.  We at Berman Larson Kane continue to add contract-to-hire professionals in various disciplines.  From our limited sample clients’ seem to prefer this hiring model to allow for maximum flexibility. On the direct hire side we have witnessed an increase in engineering hiring in both the scientific and pharma specialties.

If you would like to discuss your talent acquisition requirements or have a need to fill a position with a contractor or temporary employee I welcome the opportunity to listen to your challenge and see if we at Berman Larson Kane can recommended a cost effective solution.  Bob Larson, CPC,  President Berman Larson Kane 201-556-2887 or email .  Thank you for your past support.