I wrote this story for a tip-top healthcare jobs site, AllHealthcareJobs.com. If you’re thinking of getting back into healthcare—and there are plenty of reasons why—this is THE site to visit first. If your kids are drawn to healthcare, send them to AllHealthcareJobs. Even if you’re not pursuing this path, I believe this story contains tips relevant to anyone 50+ who’s seeking a career or career change. It’s time to get to work…
Maybe you’re out of work or want to change jobs—and you’re over age 50. Don’t fret, for AARP jobs expert and award-winning author Kerry Hannon says the best may be yet to come in her newest book, “Great Jobs for Everyone 50+…Finding Work That Keeps You Happy, Healthy and Pays the Bills.”
Maybe you lost your job or bowed out to raise a family and then care for your parents. If healthcare still calls, you can answer, but know that a person 55+ will take three months longer to land a job than someone younger. Don’t forget, though, that the U. S. Department of Labor projects approximately 3.2 million healthcare jobs from 2008-2018. There’s one for you.
Plot Your Defense
Be prepared, says Hannon, for over-50 professionals may that find employers automatically think…
- your salary requirements are too high and that if you take lower pay, you’ll resent it and jump ship for a better offer.
- you’re set in your ways, lack cutting-edge skills and energy to do the job.
- have age-related health problems.
- you have an expiration date and aren’t in it for the long haul.
- you won’t take orders from a younger person making more than you, i.e. “reverse ageism.”
Write Your Game Plan
1) Stay on top of your game:
Keep up with technology and changes in the field—think of this as redeployment of what you already know. Certificate programs at community colleges are often geared to the giant 50+ community. Healthcare always needs volunteers and when you volunteer, you learn, you give back, and you never know who you’ll meet.
“There are so many skill-based opportunities, and employers really value that,” she says.
2) Stay in tip-top shape:
a) Be physically fit. You look good, have energy and handle more stress.
b) Be spiritually fit: Aspire to mind-body balance and cultivate a calming inner voice when things get frustrating. Don’t let inertia set in, for you never know when something’s going to hit.
c) Be financially fit: That means debt-free, in case you will initially be paid “less” than you’d like. It’s temporary.
Prepare for age-related questions. Explain that age doesn’t matter to you and don’t hide your age. Say, “I can work with coworkers of any age.”
In your interview:
- Don’t discount what you have and don’t fall back on, “Here’s what I’ve done.” Before you go, ask friends and family to list your best qualities and skills.
- Don’t try too hard. Imagine this is a cocktail party and you’re so engaging.
- Keep it conversational, a two-way street, and pause before answering.
- Show up early, with no dog or cat hairs on your clothing.
- Bring a paper resume and give it like a gift.
- Write a (real) thank-you note. Wow!
“Great work is out there and it can be yours,” Hannon says. “Be creative about how you weave your world together.”
Think of “apprenticing” when you get a job that isn’t perfect. You don’t have to do it the rest of your life. “You might have several more career shifts before you’re 70,” she says.
A top Hannon healthcare job pick: patient advocate. “This job is so valuable—the idea of helping people make their way through the system that all of us are struggling to figure out.”