When adults over the age of 50 begin a job search, they have a number of daunting statistics going up against them, including longer search times, fewer opportunities and the potential for age discrimination. But despite these head winds, when it comes to finding a job over the age of 50, experts say it really comes down to optimism.
According to the Huffington Post, studies show that optimism could potentially be the number one key to finding a job and achieving a desired level of success. Feelings of anger, resentment and depression, which although are understandable among job seekers, can have disastrous effects on the ability to network with contacts, or even how well a candidate gets along with a potential employer.
Mary Eileen Williams, author of "Land the Job You Love: 10 Surefire Strategies for Jobseekers over 50," said she can tell which job seekers will find work and which ones won't based only on their attitude toward the search. When you don't believe you can't find a job past a certain age, you probably won't, she said.
Flipping those thoughts around and staying upbeat about the search may sound easy, but after countless applications appear to go unnoticed and interviews don't lead to jobs, keeping the sun shining on the search may become more difficult. To help job seekers stay positive, Williams has developed four tips for staying positive in the face of adversity.
The most important, she said, is to remain in good physical condition. Whether you realize it or not, searching for a job takes a toll both mentally and physically. This can be harder for older applicants, making it imperative for them to avoid the temptation of the torpid lifestyle known to accompany unemployment. Staying active, eating healthy and getting sufficient sleep can go a long way when it comes to finding a job, Williams wrote.
Next, it is important to refresh whatever skill sets you have that make you a marketable employer. This can be done through a number of programs and classes, many of which are offered for free through city organizations.
"Many libraries also offer sites such as Universal Class where you can take a number of classes for free by just entering your library card number," Williams wrote. "Also check out local community colleges, adult education and community centers for low-fee classes in areas that are of interest to you and which will support your career direction."
Baby boomers have long enjoyed several governmental programs, and there are now resources for helping this generation find a job. Several websites have been created that provide tips and encouragement for the later-life job search.
Networking has been said time and again to be the most important part of conducting a job search, and this is no different for the older generation, Williams wrote in the Huffington Post.
"Bar none, the fastest route to your next job is through people you know," she noted. "This is especially true when the market is tight and, to an even greater extent, for older job-seekers."
According to the news source, resumes only have so much power, but a strong connection with a valued employer at a company can help a candidate not only get an interview, but go into that meeting with the recruiter already knowing a bit about the job seeker.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there were 1.58 million unemployed people between the ages of 50 and 64 in the U.S. in 2011, making up 6.6 percent of the unemployed workforce.