The Secret to Acing an Interview After 50

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Dear Rich Lifer,

Finding work in your 50s or 60s is no easy task, but new and somewhat surprising employment data suggests that prospects are improving, especially for older job seekers.

One big reason?

This is the tightest labor market in nearly two decades, causing employers to look beyond the sea of Millennial candidates.

At the end of July, there were nearly 7.3 million unfilled jobs, but only 6.1 million people looking for work, according to the U.S. Department of Labor.

The unemployment rate in July for Americans 55 years and over was 2.7 percent, less than the overall unemployment rate at 3.7 percent.

What’s more encouraging is the average length of unemployment for older job seekers has dropped significantly since 2012.

It’s down from roughly 50 weeks to 34 weeks for job hunters age 55 to 64 and down from about 62 weeks to 30 weeks for those 65+.

In other words, it takes about seven to eight months on average to find a job if you’re over 55.

Stumbling Blocks for Those Over 50

Something I don’t think is given enough attention today are the unique challenges the over-50 crowd faces when looking for work.

Older applicants are competing with tech-savvy Millennials who often come at a cheaper price, and although age discrimination is technically illegal, it’s still pretty hard to enforce.

A study by the Government Accountability Office found five common barriers to employment for older workers:

High salary expectations — You may need to compromise on pay as your skills might not be as up to date as they once were.

Younger bosses — It’s human nature to want to work with people who are like you. If that’s the case, you need to learn how to address this obstacle in an interview.

Out of date skills — Technology is evolving faster than ever. Whether it’s applying for a job online or actually being able to operate new software, the pace can be overwhelming.

Expensive health benefits — The older you get, the more expensive your health premiums become. Bigger companies will be less impacted by this than smaller firms.

Bias — Old habits (and ideas) die hard. Know what biases you’re up against so you can get in front.

Acing the Interview

If it’s been a while since you were actively looking for work, you’ll notice certain aspects of the application and interview process has changed.

My hope today is to give you a few pointers on how to land your next gig, whether you’re coming off a layoff or looking for part-time work as a recent retiree.

If you follow these 10 tips, your inbox should be full of offer letters in the next few months.

Tip 1: Tap Your Network

A major benefit to having been in the workforce for so many years is your network of contacts. Don’t be shy to reach out to old bosses, co-workers, even subordinates.

Let them know you’re on the job hunt. Companies like referrals and it’s a lot easier to get your foot in the door if you know someone.

Tip 2: Get on LinkedIn

A quick way to tap your network is to connect with them on LinkedIn, the popular business-oriented social platform.

If you don’t have a LinkedIn profile, create one now. LinkedIn has become the go-to site for recruiters and hiring managers.

There’s plenty of good advice online that will walk you through how to build an attractive profile that will grab the attention of headhunters.

Bonus: just having a decent LinkedIn profile shows that you’re somewhat tech-savvy helping fight the ‘tech-illiterate’ label.

Tip 3: Update your Wardrobe

This might sound superficial but you need to dress for the job you want, and I don’t mean wearing a C-suite suit.

Your look should appear vibrant and modern. You don’t want to look dated because it’ll make the interviewer think that your skills are dated too.

The goal is to look age-appropriate yet current. Invest in a new suit, a slimmer fitted dress shirt, or a new pair of shoes. If you wear glasses, prioritize getting those updated first. Nothing ages someone more than an out-of-date pair of eyeglasses.

Tip 4: Update your Email Address

If you’re still using an old AOL or Hotmail account, you need to sign up for a newer email service. Get a Gmail or Outlook account to show you’re keeping up with the times.

It probably won’t win you a job, but it definitely won’t raise any red flags during the screening process either.

Also, check out Zoho and iCloud Mail, these are newer email services that’ll show you’re a little more tech-forward.

Tip 5: Modernize Your Resume

First, be sure to keep your resume to two pages max. Even if you’ve had a long and successful career, don’t bother listing every job you’ve held.

A good rule-of-thumb is to go back 10 to 15 years in your work history. This will also help disguise your age a bit should you be unfairly categorized. You can leave off the year you graduated from school, as well.

Be sure to include your LinkedIn profile URL and newly updated email address. If you have a landline, it’s best to leave it off and just use your cellphone.

These are minor details that will show a hiring manager you’re up to date.

Tip 6: Use Experience to Your Advantage

A major advantage you probably have over younger applicants is your experience, make sure you point that out and show how your expertise will help the company.

Don’t just tout your past though. Talk about the future and how you can mentor and groom the next generation of leaders in the company.

Tip 7: Show Adaptability

There’s a notion that older workers are typically going to be set in their ways. This is a common hurdle the over-50 job seeker must face. To fight this stereotype, you need to show that you’re adaptable to change.

When you speak to hiring managers, talk about situations where you adapted to change and the positive outcomes from doing so. Another way to show your flexibility is your willingness to take on temporary, part-time, or project-based work.

Employers understand that young job seekers want full-time jobs with benefits and security for their families. Older workers can fill the void especially for jobs that are seasonal or temporary by nature.

Tip 8: Keep up on Trends in Your Field

An easy way to impress hiring managers is to show that you’ve been keeping up in your field. To do this you can simply read industry newsletters, books, or watch videos online.

There are plenty of online courses you can take for further career development. Udemy, Lynda, and Coursera are all good places to start looking.

Tip 9: Highlight Your Tech Skills

You can’t get around it. In today’s workplace, you need to have a solid understanding of the technology used in your field. Find ways to weave the tech skills you have and are learning into the recruitment process.

For instance: instead of just saying you’re proficient in Excel, give a quick example of how you used Excel to filter large sets of data using pivot tables.

Tip 10: Show You’re High Energy

You want to give the impression that you’re ready to hit the ground running and not simply winding down for retirement. Terms like energetic, fast-paced, and looking for a new challenge are easy ways to liven up your resume.

No doubt, finding work as you get older becomes more challenging.

But that certainly doesn’t mean that you have less to offer than younger candidates. You just have to exert a little more effort to show that in your resume and during the interview process.
Stick to the basics and follow these 10 tips, it’ll help improve your odds of landing a job, or two.

To a richer life,

Nilus Mattive

— Nilus Mattive
Editor, The Rich Life Roadmap

The post The Secret to Acing an Interview After 50 appeared first on Daily Reckoning.

Still Planning Your Estate? Why You Shouldn’t Wait Another Day

This post Still Planning Your Estate? Why You Shouldn’t Wait Another Day appeared first on Daily Reckoning.

Perhaps you’ve spent hours upon hours and a chunk of money to have your attorney draft documents so your assets will pass to your loved ones with minimal delay and expense.

These might include a will, revocable living trust, durable power of attorney, durable financial power of attorney, and health care surrogate.

You’ve even detailed who will receive each of your cherished mementos.

Now that you’ve taken care of the financial and healthcare details in your life, there’s one more document you might want to add… and you don’t need your attorney to draw it up.

Begin with this…

Visualization Exercise

Take a deep breath, slow down for a moment, and relax. Imagine that all your friends and family are seated around you for a last get-together.

Each knows that at any moment you’ll pass to the other side, whatever that means to you.

So they’re as quiet as church mice, and all eyes are on you. What would you say?

Are you still holding a grudge from 20 years ago?

Would you curse at your no-good brother-in-law who never paid you back when you bailed him out of jail?

Or how about the neighbor who borrowed your weed eater and returned it broken, not even offering to get it repaired.

Maybe you’d like to give your younger sister a tongue-lashing for being Mom’s favorite.

For many of us, the list of people who we feel did us wrong over decades of living can go on and on. And you might think it’d be healthy to get this baggage off your chest.

Perhaps.

But what would it mean to those who came to wish you farewell?

The best you can hope is that they’ll feel remorse for what they did.

However, it’s more likely that they’ll justify their actions to themselves and one another. 

So rather than leaving on a negative note and having them simply say that you were a bitter person who never had a good word to say about anyone… even to your dying day…

I suggest putting positive spin on it. That’ll give you some peace of mind and put a smile, and tears, on your guests’ faces.

Although this is an imaginary exit speech, you can make it a last letter to friends and family… a review of your life… something they can read over and over once you’re gone.

This last letter is also known as an ethical will or a legacy letter. But it’s really… 

A Letter from Your Heart

Getting started is usually the biggest challenge…

Begin with pen to paper or hand to keyboard begin by telling those closest to you how much you love them.

Perhaps your spouse stood by your side when things were tough. Be specific whether it was financial problems, health crises, or the stress of child rearing.

Tell children how proud you are of them for their accomplishments, no matter how small. Recall their first day in preschool, college graduation, wedding, or other milestones.

Write about the good times, such as the family camping trip when it rained cats and dogs the whole time. You could mention treasured moments that you spent climbing trees with a childhood friend whom you haven’t seen in decades.

You could thank someone who helped you throughout the years, who had a positive impact on your life.

Maybe you had a mentor at work, a supportive friend who encouraged without pushing you to be yourself, or a faithful neighbor who for many years took care of your pets while you went on vacations.

Seek and Offer Forgiveness…

This could also be the time to ask for forgiveness, especially to those you love if you have hurt them. You won’t get another chance.

For instance, a younger brother whom you were never close to may be overjoyed  when reading that you loved him.

At the same time, forgive yourself. Everyone makes mistakes.

You could forgive those who have hurt you, too. Perhaps a cousin, an ex-spouse, or a former business partner who did you wrong.

You don’t need to scold or criticize. Simply tell them that you accept what they’ve done, you’ve put the past behind you, and you forgive them.

They might believe differently… that you were the one at fault. If so, then it’s their problem. You extended an olive branch, which is all you can do.

In either case, you’ll have a sense of release and tranquility by letting go of old resentments.

And if you can’t bring yourself to forgive, saying nothing.

Written Words will last Forever…

Your family and friends will appreciate your words and cherish them forever.

Meanwhile, you’ll experience an enormous peace of mind that comes from looking back on life’s ups and downs and sharing them with those you care about.

For a closing you could tell them not to be stressed or sad over your passing. The time you spent with them far outweighs any pain or discomfort you may have experienced towards the end.

And thank them once again for everything they’ve done for you. It was an honor and pleasure to have them in your life. Wish them peace and joy in the years ahead.

Once you’re finished, file your letter with your will or where you keep precious items. Or you could give it to a close friend for a second look or to your attorney to hand to your loved ones in the event of your death.

You never know when your time will come, so put your feelings in writing… while you’re still capable… and take a moment to say “goodbye” before it’s too late.

To a richer life,

Nilus Mattive

— Nilus Mattive
Editor, The Rich Life Roadmap

The post Still Planning Your Estate? Why You Shouldn’t Wait Another Day appeared first on Daily Reckoning.