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Job Searching for Middle-Age Job Seekers
Tuesday, October 09, 2012

The job market is tough for everyone. From college grads to seasoned professionals, a weak economy doesn't discrimate against who feels its effects. The fact is, every demographic has their own set of disadvantages. For the middle-aged, these factors can seemingly be the beginning of the end.

There is, however, a light at the end of the tunnel. Fortunately, the highest numbers for unemployment rates are among the youngest groups and are lowest among those within the 35-54 age range.

The problem is that middle-aged workers tend to have the hardest time getting jobs that closely match in description and compensation from their last job. The market simply has more supply than demand can afford.
If you're in your 40's or 50's, though, this does not have to be cause for despair. Before you throw in the towel and start filling out applications, there is hope if you've still got some fight left in you. We all have a natural ability to overcome challenges that come our way and are out of our control: we adapt.

Adapting  and evolving doesn't happen overnight, it's a culmination of taking small steps that get us closer to making big moves. An obvious first step would be to catch your resume up with the job market 2.0. Cut out the fat which, in this case, refers to jobs held prior to the current decade. At least any that you had before the one that defined your career or you held the longest. Fill gaps with relevant activities where time was spent whether they were paid and unpaid.

Since it's illegal for potential employers to inquire about your age anyway, don't feel compelled to reveal it flat out. Go ahead and stretch the truth a bit. Perhaps your freshman kids in college are now freshman in high school. You get the idea. Remember to be consistent in your story. Also be careful to eliminate any phrases from your resume that will date you, for instance, "Proficient in Outlook 98."

Just like you don't want your age stamped on your forehead, interviewers don't want theirs either. Try not to think in terms of younger or older. View any potential as a peer and stay clear of saying things to place yourself on or above their generation. Be the Switzerland of job candidates and remain neutral if you want to play it safe.

Feeling tempted to color your hair? Stop and step away from the dye. Detecting unnatural hair color is easy. Women should stick to colors that complement their skin tones and men should avoid it all together. Even if you want to shave a few years off, the slight differnce in your appearance isn't worth the risk of it backfiring on you.

Brush up on your tech talk. Competing in a digital job market requires being current on the lastest innovations. Be aware of traps that can will tip off to the interviewer that you're trying your hardest to blend in with younger job seekers.

Keep your mindset around the years 2010 until now. Anything before that is on its way to being obselete if it isn't already. If all else fails, just remember rule #1 for moving up in most places in life: fake it 'til you make it.