Job-hunting Tips When You're 50+

Three career coaches tell you how to stay competitive

by Sarah Wexler
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Photograph: Shutterstock.com

Longtime friends Christine Reilly, 60, and Barbara Cooper, 59, of Atlanta both lost their jobs recently. Reilly, a former marketing director, wants to try her hand at a fine arts nonprofit; Cooper, who has worked in various small-firm administrative jobs, simply wants something stable. We convened an emergency panel of coaches to help.

  • “Reorient your résumé to suit the new field you’re hoping to enter. On LinkedIn, search for people who have the job title you want and read their résumés to see what skills are highlighted. Look for repeatedwords or phrases and mirror them in your CV. They’ll help employers search­ing for specific keywords to find you more easily.” —New Jersey life coach Laura Berman Fortgang
  • “Informational interviews are somewhat passé because you can find job descriptions, qualifications and responsibilities online. Instead, ask experts in your new field for 20 minutes of their time, and in the request be specific about what you’re seeking. Rather than a vague ‘I’m interested in exploring nonprofits,’ say,‘I’d like to ask you about doing marketing and event planning for a fine arts nonprofit.’ ” —Eileen Sharaga, career psychologist in New York City
  • “Don’t sell yourself short by applying for jobs only when you meet 90 percent of their requirements. Apply if you have a 75 percent fit. Job hunting is like dating or house hunting: You should cast a wide net.” —Rita Friedman, owner of PhillyCareerCoach.com

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First published in the June 2013 issue

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