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Millions of Americans are looking for jobs in their fifties, sixties, and beyond. Some of these seniors are looking for jobs because they like to work. Others send résumés for reasons ranging from pink slip-ups to financial needs.

Seniors can be attractive applicants. Many potential employers value older workers for their experience and work ethic, as well as for the stability they bring to the workplace. However, if you are hoping to find a job after 50, there are a few key mistakes you need to avoid.

Here are some key mistakes that can affect job hunting for those who have passed the half-century mark.

1. Forget about editing your resume

Keep goingAaron Amat / Shutterstock.com

Today's businesses get an avalanche of resumes every time they post a job posting. Computer programs can scan these first and weed out those that are considered lost. Survivors then go to a hiring manager who may just give them a peek before deciding who will move on to the interview phase.

Age discrimination against older workers is illegal. But let's face it, there is bias. Employers sifting through hundreds of resumes can find it easy to sort the pile out by removing them from people they think are too old.

Don't let your resume become a giveaway for your age. Eliminate the data for your education and limit your work history to no more than the last 15 years. Both of these changes can help you avoid standing out as a senior applicant.

For more information, see:

2. To be proud to volunteer while you look

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If your job search isn't going as fast as you'd like, make the most of your downtime. Volunteering can be a great way to get out of the house and make connections that can potentially lead to paid work.

You can volunteer for an organization you already know or contact VolunteerMatch to find new opportunities. Don't overlook volunteering for your local chamber of commerce or professional association in your area of ​​interest.

3. Failure to update technical skills

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If there's one thing that separates older workers from younger competitors, it's technical skills – or a lack of them.

While a hiring manager automatically assumes that 20 applicants are familiar with a computer and the Internet, they can assume the opposite of an older applicant. Prove they are wrong by getting some technical training before starting your job search so you can be confident that you can use all the programs and applications required for the position.

4. No online presence

Middle-aged blonde woman using computerAaron Amat / Shutterstock.com

Take some time to create an online presence as you update your technical skills. In today's human resources departments, you may be more likely to put your name on a search engine than calling in your references.

And what will they find when they do that? Grilling? Or worse, that angry letter to you that was sent to the newspaper and nothing else?

You need to take responsibility for your online presence by at least creating a LinkedIn profile. This will serve as an online resume and you will want to fill it with a professional photo and details of your work experience.

5. Ignore your networks

Older workerpixelheadphoto digitalskillet / Shutterstock.com

Been around a couple of times, haven't you? Then use all of the connections you have made.

Pick up the phone, shoot an e-mail or send a text. Be direct and to the point. Let people in your professional network know that you are looking for a new position and ask if they know of any opportunities.

For more information, see “9 Simple Tips for Successful, Painless Networking”.

6. Don't be afraid to emphasize your experience

Calm businessmanAaron Amat / Shutterstock.com

A deep network isn't the only thing you've likely accumulated over the years. You probably have a lot of experience too. Use this to your advantage.

Once you've reached the interview stage, don't work around the problem. The interviewer may be thinking, "Wow, this guy is old!" So go ahead and acknowledge it.

Explain that while you may not be the youngest candidate to walk through the door, the company will benefit from your tons of experience. In particular, emphasize that you will need little to no training to get started and how that fact can save the company time and money.

7. Act like you know everything

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Emphasizing experience is good – up to a point. You don't want your track record to be intimidating to those younger than you. A 30-year-old boss may fear that a 60-year-old applicant might want to run the show. The last thing young whipper snapper want is mom or dad to look over their shoulders and criticize their every move.

Sure, you know you won't act like this, but you need to convince the interviewer of it too. Get excited about the current corporate governance and share a few stories that highlight your work as part of the team.

8. Consider employers who do not appreciate older workers

Age Discriminationfizkes / Shutterstock.com

Rather than trying to convince a youth-focused company that you are right for the job, it may make more sense to focus your efforts on employers who value older workers.

You may be able to find these employers through the following resources:

9. Don't be ready to bow down on income

Woman asks for moneyAaron Amat / Shutterstock.com

While your experience can be beneficial, an employer may see dollar signs as they are weighing them. Companies sometimes prefer to hire a younger worker who is content with lower wages.

Of course, you deserve to be well compensated for your experience. However, a certain income is better than no income. If you want to get back to work quickly, it is best to be flexible with your income requirements.

Disclosure: The information you read here is always objective. However, sometimes we get compensation for clicking links in our stories.


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