Q:I was laid off six months ago and I haven’t had a nibble at all. I’m 50 years old, so my competition is much younger and I don’t feel as if I have a chance. I’m too young to stop working completely – how do I find a job?
A: As a career coach, I have spoken with people in their 20s who think they are too old to move ahead with their careers. Judging by the impression they left, they were correct. I also recently coached a man in a career transition who was in his 60s; he told me that his new job is the keystone of his career. The impression he left was that he was 60, but so what? The best half of his career is yet to come. Another client in her 60s just found a job that she describes as “perfect.” I keep meeting such dynamic people. Just last week, I met an individual at a workshop who spoke with me afterward. He was 55 and had multiple leads before he accepted his new job. He was still going to school to update his skills, was training for a marathon, was well-dressed and groomed and attended the workshop to try helping others through sharing his career transition experience. He had more on the ball than most anyone in their 20s – and employers recognized it. In my experience, age is irrelevant if you have energy, enthusiasm, an up-to-date skill set and are ready to go to work with an upbeat attitude. However, if you disagree and believe your age is the significant factor in your present situation, well, then, you are likely correct – for you, that is. Age is both a fact and a choice.
So what can you do to act your youthful age? • Upgrade and update – Begin exercising, update your eyewear, wardrobe, hairstyle, etc. • Network – Use your years of experience to add creativity to your job search strategy and networking plan. • Return to school – Update your job skills and knowledge by taking a class or two, or obtaining a certification.
Finally, be authentically you. Don’t try to be everything to everyone. Know who you are and what qualifies you to be in the game and speak to what makes you unique from your competition. Furthermore, remember you do not need 100 jobs; you only need one great job. Finally, know that God has a purpose for you at all stages of your life. Enthusiastically seek that purpose with the knowledge he is the creator of all good things. You will likely find the job you are seeking when you combine your hard work with prayer and his blessing.
Nick Synko is a professional career and workplace issues coach. For more information, visit SynkoAssociates.com and CareersThroughFaith.org.