How Your Age Affects Your Job Search

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Unemployment is a phenomenon that has plagued Nigeria over decades. Thousands of graduates “well baked” “semi baked” or even “raw” are released in to the Nigerian labor market. The clock keeps ticking while many of these graduates don’t get gainfully employed. They go from website to website in search of jobs. Some get duped in the process. Some get frustrated and go into crime. Some go into petty trading while others just keep wandering waiting for God’s time. One can’t imagine a young man who grew up under hardship with parents and family members waiting for him to make it life. He becomes frustrated when he can’t act as the saviour he is meant to be to his family. Where are we going to in Nigeria?

Jobberman.com in its own little way is helping job seekers think outside the box and take unique steps in achieving great things on their career paths. It’s going all the way out to connect job-seekers with “genuine” head-hunters.

Note that these tips would only work for you if you are not lazy.

Whether you are 22 or 62, a job search may be in your future. But the 20-something’s job search strategy should look very different than the 60-something’s — and so should everyone’s in between.

There are different job search strategies for different ages especially in this economy, people of all ages are in the market for a new job. Some people are looking to improve their pay or title, some want to change their career paths and some have been involuntarily plunged into a job search due to downsizing. No matter what the catalyst, a job search should be carefully calculated and cultivated, with a great many factors taken into account. One of the most important, but often overlooked, is the impact the job seeker’s age can and should have on the process.

In your 20s: Get a Foot in the Door

Job seekers in their 20s are long on enthusiasm and education but short on experience. It is a period during which you can take some time to figure out the ways in which your talents and skills can best be applied. Seek out positions where you can learn from others, but be a valuable resource through your fresh perspective, youthful exuberance and the fact you have minimal responsibilities to tie you down. One of the biggest mistakes 20-somethings make is waiting to start their job search until after they have graduated from college. A job search should start once they have declared their major. This is when they should begin to build a professional network in the way of professional societies, relationships with key professors and with possible employment opportunities through internships. In the end, there are few things that trump experience, and younger job searchers may have the luxury of being able to gain that experience by working for less or even no pay — at least for a while. Having your college degree is great, but experience gets your foot in the door. Do volunteer work within your field. Seek internships, paid or unpaid, if you have to. The university lecturers wouldn’t teach you these.

In your 30s: Shaping Up

In your 30s, you need to be thinking long-term. At this point, each job is shaping your career. Think about the next job on your resume. You also may have started a family at this point, so benefits and the demands of the job — not just wages — will be more of a consideration.

Unlike your 20s experience is less important than demonstrating your skills, but there’s still room to take risks. In your 30s, you have built up confidence in your skills and should look for roles that showcase your abilities and allow you to take some professional risks. At the same time, however, you will want to scrutinize your work/life balance since you probably have more personal responsibilities in your 30s. You may also want to consider the kind of work you will be doing and how your contributions will make a difference with the employer. The benchmark at this stage is to establish respect in your abilities and begin branding yourself as an expert.

In your 40s: What Does Your Career Story Say?

In your 40s, you should have laid a firm career foundation. Now is the time to think about your impact and legacy.

A key driver for a voluntary job search in your 40s is often the degree of job satisfaction and personal and professional recognition coming from your current position. For the 40s and beyond, I think you start looking for a job that has impact. By 40, you start defining yourself not just by who you are but also by what you do. This increases as you get older.

At this point in your career, you need to be able to show potential employers that you have effectively managed your career.

At this point in your career you need to invest more in your job search tools — your resume, personal brand and interviewing skills — to ensure all tell the correct story of your career progression and demonstrate you are worth the price you request.

In your 50s: Find Meaning

As many can attest, looking for a new job in your 50s is not easy. Job seekers in their 50s may be seen as too expensive. Going for a lower-titled, lower-paying position may be seen as a way to get their foot in the door, but employers often hesitate to hire overqualified candidates for fear that their hearts won’t be in the job or that they will leave the company the minute something better comes along.

Even with these challenges, there are several strategies that can be used to counteract some of the bias against older workers. First and foremost, emphasize accomplishments and experience while de-emphasizing age. Leave the year you graduated from college off your resume and, unless relevant to the job you’re applying for, only show an employment history for the last 15 to 20 years. The 50-something job seeker has a professional lifetime of experience to offer a potential employer. And, if circumstances allow, this is the time to be thinking about taking on a position that has real meaning.

Fifty-plus is a time when … what you do has to have meaning — not necessarily a big title but actual ‘meaning.

In your 60s: Be Flexible

When it comes to 60-somethings, employers have fears related to potential length of service, technological obsolescence and sky-rocketing insurance costs.

At this stage in your career you must use your personal brand to combat those perceptions, but be flexible to different working arrangements like consulting and part-time work. Career experts say job seekers in this age category should be proactive, emphasizing the experience and work ethic that come with age, while demonstrating the flexibility and hunger to succeed that are often attributed more to younger workers.

Speaking of flexibility, experts add that 60-somethings should have it in spades and should demonstrate their willingness to be flexible in their personal brand and resume. Consider consulting, part-time work or freelancing, as opposed to a traditional full-time, benefited position. Pursue consulting work now, and adding those titles and positions to your resume will help.

Companies value institutional knowledge and deep industry expertise. Do you have this?

Use the gray-hair factor as a selling point.

Retire honorably let others rise.

Finally,

“You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream.” C.S. Lewis

I hope you have picked one or two points
 
The best I wish you

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Lola Olakeye