Tips for getting a job when you're over 50

The following tips are taken from an article written for executives who are 50 or older and have lost their jobs. Most recruiters and companies admit privately that they are significantly less interested in hiring executives over 50. The most important reasons for this bias are: inflexible management style, difficulty reporting to a younger boss, high compensation needs and lack of computer skills.

-- During interviews discuss how you modified your management approach to fit different challenges in different business cultures.

-- Cite examples when you enabled younger superiors to succeed, grow and advance their careers. Emphasize that you will manage what your boss wants to get done now, so that he or she will have more time to work on what should be done in the future.

-- You will have a significant advantage over younger job candidates the more you are willing to accept less salary up front in exchange for a greater performance-based bonus.

-- By age 50, you have developed special abilities -- such as problem solving, people management, judgment and leadership -- that are highly valued by companies and that offer significant advantages over less experienced younger executives. You can solve most problems faster than younger job-seeking competitors. Try to find examples where you quickly identified key drivers impacting performance, and developed solutions that achieved improved results in record time. Examples might be delays in new product introduction, late shipments, cost overruns or declining quality control.

-- Change your search strategy. Larger companies usually have built-in succession plans and hire internally nearly 90 percent of the time. In contrast, smaller companies usually hire executive talent from the outside as they grow. Further, there are 20 times as many companies in the U.S. with sales of under $100 million as there are above. They are less concerned with your age, highly value your experience and make faster hiring decisions. Focus your search efforts on smaller companies.

The tips are from Tucker Mays and Bob Sloane, principals of OptiMarket LLC, an executive job-search coaching firm they co-founded to help executives over 50 find their next job in the shortest time possible. They have also co-authored the book "Fired at 50: How to Overcome the Greatest Executive Job Search Challenge." For more information, visit their website at www.optimarketllc.com .

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