According to a 2017 survey published by nonprofit RAND Corporation, almost 40% of workers over 65 had previously retired, and that number has continued to rise. For those individuals, as well as older adults who are making a career change later in life, it can be challenging to figure out where to start.
That’s why many people across the country turn to a recruiter for assistance in the complex, hard-to-navigate career search. Bonnie Jones of Chantilly-based recruiting firm Bonnie Jones Associates, LLC, has been helping residents of the DMV achieve their employment needs for over 24 years, and has assisted many older adults find their next dream job.
Here, Jones talks first steps, how to stand out and what to highlight when putting yourself on the job market once again.
Where’s the first place candidates should start, prior to actually taking interviews?
It’s imperative to have a well-written resume with no mistakes. Resumes need to be kept current too, because that’s really the first impression. Especially for someone trying to re-enter the workforce, you already have challenges ahead, so you don’t want to compound that by having errors in your resume.
What’s your biggest advice for seniors in search of a new job?
Even before embarking on the job search, there needs to be current technical skills updated. Microsoft offers free resources where you can get your skills up to speed. Another really important aspect is lining up a list of references who will vouch for you. When working with a recruiter, you tend to get interviews quickly, so it’s important to look your best. We are ready, so you need to be prepared as well.
In terms of what I do, I actually role play with them to prepare them for the interview, especially if people haven’t interviewed in a long time. Getting that face-to-face mock interview will really prepare them for what’s to come in a series of interviews for most. I tell my candidates that the interview actually begins when you find out you have one. You have to figure out how you’ll commute and be early, have your resume printed, have a leather notebook to take notes with during the interview, that kind of thing.
How do you recommend older adults prove their worth in the marketplace compared to say, a candidate in their 30s with a similar level of experience?
Really, a lot of employers like to have experienced individuals. They don’t mind teaching the actual tasks of a job, because the person knows how to show up on time, focus on their career and really be an asset to the team. I personally think this gives them an advantage in most cases.
How does working with an experienced candidate differ from working with someone who has very little experience in the designated field of their choice?
I think the older worker is more willing to listen to new advice. And they’ve learned over time that they don’t know everything. They have the strength to be able to do the job and as a recruiter, my job is to help them get the job. I really need to get candidates to trust me in an effort to find them the best job out there, and that’s usually easier for me with older candidates. No matter the age though, you have to be prepared for a few nos, and then get excited for that one yes.
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