Of course, before you can prove yourself on the job, you must have a solid resume. Because resumes are now primarily posted online, job seekers of all ages must be adept at getting their applications noticed. “A lot of time people are not familiar with how that works,” says Russell. “We talk about having key words because employers scan for those relevant pieces due to the sheer volume of applicants.” A local career counselor can help you to use the best search terms and phrases.
Also, job interviews no longer focus on your past, but want to explore what you’ll do going forward. “Employers are less concerned about where you’ve worked and more interested in how you’re going to be a fit in a company,” says Russell. If you’re over 50, there’s a good chance your boss will be under 50, and have a different management style than you’re used to. “Realize that bosses under 50 may have been at five companies in their work span and focus on a team approach,” says Quigley. “They’re task oriented and goal oriented, and those first six months are critical for you to prove yourself.”
The median retirement age is now between 65 and 70, according to a MetLife survey on American attitudes towards retirement. Returning to work in your 50’s can easily mean 10 to 15 more years in the field, and with college tuition looming near $50,000 a year and a slowing economy, the fact is you ought to think ahead. There’s no reason to wait until your children have left for college (like Kathie Lee’s son Cody) to start thinking about returning to the workforce. Sign up for continuing education courses to start beefing up your skill set, and choose a date when you’ll go back to work. “There’s a learning curve,” says Quigley, “so get out of your comfort zone. It’s fun to sit at the bake sale and chitchat, but set a goal and intellectually challenge yourself. It sets a good example for your kids too.”