Networking Tips for Older Job Seekers

If you are looking for a job, you know how important it is to network. Strengthening your networking skills increases your chances of landing the job you want.

But if you’re  over 55 and looking for a job , you might be unsure about the best networking strategies for today’s workforce. Traditional networking, such as going to meetings and handing out your contact information, is no longer enough.

Job seekers need to network in both online and offline settings. For example, you might meet an employer face-to-face for coffee, join a professional networking group, and message job recruiters through LinkedIn.

Actively networking in person and online plays an important role in getting hired. Use the experience you have learned plus the strategies below to prepare to network your way to employment.

1. Do your homework

Networking is more than just introducing yourself to hiring professionals. You can impress employers by having background on the situation beforehand. Doing so will help you have in-depth conversations about opportunities and show that you are interested and experienced.

What kind of information is good to know ahead of time? First, decide on the specifics about the kind of job you want. Do you have experiences or skills that you could use at your next job? Do you want to work part-time or full-time? How far are you willing to commute? Thinking ahead about these details can help you talk about your employment goals while networking.

You should also know who you are networking with. For example, if a professional meeting is being hosted by a certain company, find out more about the company before you go to the event. This shows that you are interested in working with the organization and being a part of their team. If you end up getting an interview, you are already one step closer to being able to answer  tough interview questions .

Even if you are not an expert, it is important to at least understand some basic principles of the industry you are trying to work in. Being comfortable with talking about the industry will help you engage in conversations when you network.

2. Promote your best qualities

Having a positive attitude is key to successful networking. Don’t be intimidated by the skills you think you lack. Instead, focus on your unique experiences and talents that make you a great fit for the job.

Know that your age is not a negative quality. In fact, being an older worker gives you an upper hand over younger job seekers. You have years of professional and personal experiences to draw upon in your next opportunity.   

Keep in mind that networking is a two-way street. The conversation should not just focus on you. Listen and take note of what others say. Look for opportunities to connect with the right people who want to hire someone with your qualities.

3. Use your contacts

If you are an  older job seeker , you probably have a large pool of contacts you can turn to for networking. Your immediate circle might not be able to connect you with a job, but their contacts might.

Reach out to friends, family, and former co-workers to see who is hiring. You can also reach out to people you have met through job training programs, such as the Senior Community Service Employment Program . Be clear that you are looking for a job and your specifications.

Emphasize the positives, rather than the negatives. For example, instead of focusing on needing a job, talk about how excited you are to get back into the workforce with a new opportunity.

4. Leverage the internet

Over the years, networking has changed. Today, many interactions you have on your job search happen online. If you do not utilize online networking tools, you are missing out on job opportunities.

LinkedIn is an online professional network that connects employers to job seekers and employees. If you have not created a LinkedIn account yet, you should do so. If you have a LinkedIn account, be sure that it is filled out completely, up to date, and free of typos.

Network with job recruiters on LinkedIn by joining Groups, sharing content, and sending messages. Actively participating on the site will help grow your network and, eventually, reach your employment goals.

*The information in this article is intended solely to provide general information on matters of interest for the personal use of the reader, who accepts full responsibility for its use. This article should not be used as a substitute for consultation with professional legal, medical, or other competent advisors.

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