Your company has recently decided to reduce headcount and lay off people. Unfortunately, you are one of the employees whose name was selected, and this will be the first time in several years, maybe even decades, that you’ve been back on the job market. You’re over 50 years old and haven’t had to interview in years. Now what?
This trend is happening more often than not. The best way to be prepared is to stay ready! What have you done throughout the years to stay on top of trends and technology in your industry? Have you joined any professional organizations and expanded your network? Have you had your resume professionally reviewed and updated? When was the last time you assessed your wardrobe and updated your image, including your haircut, hairstyle, makeup, and accessories? Have you considered part-time work, consulting, volunteering, or starting your own business? All of these simple actions can make re-entering the job market over the age of 50 feel less intimidating and challenging.
The Advantage of Over-50 Applicants
Are companies constantly looking to hire younger and cheaper employees? Yes, and as more and more millennials, and now “Gen Zers,” emerge on the workforce, this will continue to be a preferred pool of applicants for organizations to select from. Depending on the industry, millennials may very well be the top choice for potential new hires. But there is still a sweet spot for applicants over the age of 50. Millennials tend to change jobs quickly in their careers. On average, they may stay with a company for 18-36 months and then move on for new experiences, challenges, or promotions. Employee turnover can cost companies significant money every year, both in hard and soft dollars (e.g., lost productivity and employee burnout).
During the interview process, it is important for experienced applicants to express their desire to find a home, stay with a company, and grow their career internally. Employer loyalty is still relevant, although less practiced now than in days of the past. This is where the over-50-year-old candidate has the advantage. Your years of experience and time spent with three or fewer employers throughout your career are truly beneficial; you just have to know how to sell it. The right future employer will appreciate your experience, knowledge, skills, and abilities, and know you’re an asset to the company.
Tana M. Session
This article was originally written for Black Enterprise