How To Leap Over Age-Related Career Plateaus

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Leaping over CareerAfter a certain age, many professionals see their careers walking down a dead end street. Passed over for promotions and brushed aside for new assignments, every fresh and exciting opportunity seems just out of reach for the older worker.

Some professionals just give up and accept the way things are. Those younger job seekers have all the luck, right?

Wrong attitude. You’re never too old to fight for a new job. Experienced job seekers shouldn’t make the mistake of hanging up their gloves and getting out of the ring once they reach a certain age.

Times are changing. Older professionals need to work harder than ever to get ahead. The average person is living longer and healthier thanks to science and medicine. The age of retirement is continuously being pushed forward with no promise of future social security benefits. In our current situation, workers will be making career decisions well past the age of 50.

So how can older workers remain relevant and communicate their strengths and skills to recruiters and hiring managers? Read on for some tips:

  • Adopt a fresh attitude: The first thing older job applicants will have to do is realign their career goals. They already have the skills, but they need the motivation to move their careers forward and climb above their current plateau. Older workers should dismiss their age as a psychological roadblock and focus on building the confidence and initiative needed to apply for new jobs and follow through with the interview process.
  • Emphasize accomplishments: On said interviews, older job seekers should emphasize their accomplishments, not experience, when discussing opportunities with recruiters and hiring managers. Experience only tells you about the past, whereas accomplishments lead to larger discussions about the future. It’s a good idea to only bring up the challenges and goals met from the last 5-10 years. Anything farther back is feels like a lifetime for some employers.
  • Update your resume and online profile: An ancient resume and social media presence will certainly keep you from successfully re-entering the job market. Especially as an older job seeker, an outdated resume will make you seem out-of-touch and undesirable. A bright and shiny resume coupled with an updated LinkedIn profile is your best marketing strategy for successfully landing a new job, so make the changes to frame yourself as a valuable resource. Cut out everything else (Example: remove outmoded computer or technical skills, anything that makes you seem dated.)

In this meticulous re-evaluation and construction of a job seeking identity, older professionals actually have an advantage over their younger job seeking counterparts. The older you are, the wider your range of expertise – and more stories, skills, and accomplishments you have to choose from when describing yourself. Don’t be afraid to take a chance on yourself, move your career forward today!

Read more in Age Discrimination

Marie is a writer for covering career advice, recruitment topics, and HR issues. She has an educational background in languages and literature as well as corporate experience in Human Resources.