7 Tips For Older Workers In The Job Market Today

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older couple sitting on front porch

If you are 55 years or older, the traditional job market has become even less hospitable during the pandemic than it was last year.

Millions of jobs are simply not coming back, many small businesses are now closing, and many other companies are downsizing or going under.

This makes it even harder for jobs for older workers to be found.

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Older workers can find work, but not the same old way.

Now is the time to rethink how to find work that fits your life stage and meets the realities of the market.

The most important change is the move to virtual (there is no home office) or remote (there is an office, but people mostly work from home or workspaces of their choosing).

Many companies, such as Google, are reconfiguring its offices amid a more permanent shift to working from home.

Offices are now "on-sites," where employees who mostly work from home gather in the office.

If you can reimagine your future work as combining locations with online work, and that you will find work through online platforms, then you have far more flexibility to find work that matters, fits how you want to live, and you get paid for the value you add.

The years ahead for Baby Boomers are now called the "third stage," after they learned their profession and developed skills and experience.

Here are 7 strategies and approaches older workers can take to thrive in the workplace.

1. Learn a new skill.

Learning what you need to increase your options is now easier with so many online tutorials and webinars.

You can reverse-engineer your learning path by observing which software systems or platforms are most used in the fields you would like to work in.

If you would like to work in customer relationship management, then Salesforce may be necessary. Salesforce certifies online users through their online community of practices Trailblazers.

You can be certified through online course study and receive a digital badge that verifies you can apply the management system.

"Upskilling" is the new way to build your value for what you want to do.

2. Embrace virtual work.

Older workers weren't natives of the internet, nor social media; they're immigrants to these modalities. So, while they may feel a bit behind and clumsy, the virtual work world is universally accessible, flexible, and user-friendly.

Seize opportunities the technologies now provide.

Check out free podcast interviews and blog posts to see how you can understand the future of work and better understand the opportunities for virtual work by listening to how leaders and thinkers can provide fresh thinking.

You may want to begin with Vint Cerf, Google Evangelist and one of the founding luminaries in the expansion of the internet for universal access.

3. Determine your life and work goals.

Be specific. Perhaps you want to work to supplement your fixed income and still be flexible and autonomous on when, where, and how much you work.

Maybe you want to engage with younger people who are in school, or moms returning back to work after extended leaves for childcare. Or consider a problem you want to be part of the solution to, such as climate change or criminal justice reform.

Check out organizations with free resources, advice, and work-plan templates that can orient you.

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These organizations offer free resources and experts to advise you. Get information and be educated before you begin your work plan.

Enroll in online diagnostic tests. These tools help orient you to understand your current skill sets and ways of being, so you can best choose how to thrive and best present yourself:

  • Clifton/Gallop Strength Finders
  • IPEC Energy Leadership Assessment (administered and interpreted by certified coaches)
  • IPEC Values self-assessment (jeffsaperstein.com for free assessment form)

If you would like to start a business, join project teams, or be recruited for jobs that fit you the new technologies make it cheaper, faster, and less-risky than ever before.

Imagine you can inhabit a new online universe in which you become part of the galaxy on platforms such as LinkedIn, apps such as Waze for GPS, and global exchanges such as Amazon or Alibaba.

Use platforms to both establish yourself and connect with others who can provide work. Platforms can help you access jobs based on your profile and skillsets.

Rather than trying to apply randomly or being circumscribed by your geographic location, you can now work from home and establish your own network and eco-cluster of those you help and who help you for work.

These platforms provide free tutorials and guidance on how to use and get the best value to refine your profile and make the best matches for what you want.

4. Join communities to expand your network.

You can join multiple communities online to both share your knowledge and interact with others.

Professional associations, specialty expertise areas, or just people who share a common interest are organized for you and easy to join at no cost to you.

Get recommendations for your LinkedIn profile. One of the most effective ways to establish your reputation is by obtaining credible recommendations for your LinkedIn profile.

It's easy and LinkedIn archives your profile permanently. Just ask people you have worked with to post a recommendation from their LinkedIn account to yours.

When employers or collaborative teams search for candidates, your recommendations matter for your enhanced credibility.

5. Make a new small business online.

It's now easier than ever to start a business. Do you like to handmake crafts? Then you can create a business on Etsy. Want to become a chef and demonstrate your recipes? You can post on YouTube and request subscriptions.

For the most widely utilized global exchanges, check out Amazon web services and Alibaba to see how to start your online business.

6. Volunteer in non-profits to establish your credentials and experience.

Non-profit organizations are great places to enhance your life with purpose and meet like-minded people.

Using the portfolio approach, you can play different roles as a volunteer in non-profits: Serving on boards of directors, hands-on work, and fundraising.

One can engage with non-profits, church activity, and community organizations, and become known and sought-after by establishing your reputation and building your experience.

Volunteer activity itself without financial compensation is life-affirming. But you can also use this experience and contacts to springboard your own business.

Volunteers for tutoring in math, English, and other primary-school subject areas can develop their own practices. If you can get credentials, you can also be a substitute teacher for grade-school kids.

Local school districts are using platforms for registered substitute teachers to fill in for a class vacancy, even the night before the school day begins.

7. Become involved in community boards, activities, and organizations.

Work can be more engaging with others who have a common purpose. Those who share a passion to address an issue can help each other.

There are 180,000 Nextdoor platforms. You can sign in and dialogue with people in your community, and see requests and needs.

You should not promote your business on Nextdoor, but you can become known by your helpfulness in an area of expertise.

Your local library is also a great place to volunteer and work with the librarians who might become referral sources for you to tutor.

Today, capital is more about applying skills to doing business, creating products, delivering services, and more — it's not dependent on people being in physical proximity. Age should be no impediment.

So as an older worker, you can now navigate your own journey on the route you decide. The world of opportunity is now open to you. Seize it and thrive!

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Jeff Saperstein is a career transition coach. For more information, visit his website.