Author Box
Articles Categories
All Categories
Articles Resources

Career Book Review: Job Searching After 50 by Carol Silvis - A Mature Worker's Competitive Advantage

May 23, 2011 | Comments: 0 | Views: 124

Long-term unemployment is recognized as any individual who has been jobless for six months or longer. Currently, 5.8 million Americans define that category; and among them, are many people over the age of 50. Older adults face unique challenges when seeking employment.

Course Technology publishes a variety of Professional, Reference and Technology titles. One of its current releases is Job Hunting After 50 by Carol A. Silvis.

Silvis has a master's degree in Adult Education and is an assistant director and department chair at a Pennsylvania business institute. She also presents workshops and seminars for schools, businesses and professional organizations.

Eight chapters comprise Silvis's message. Following are highlights from each topic to help jumpstart your job search as a mature worker:

Skills and Qualifications

The job search process begins by matching your unique abilities with a company that needs them. Define your purpose for working. Whether it's full or part-time will guide your employment pursuits. Shift the focus from your age to how your workplace, transferable and life skills meet the needs of the employer. Consider too, your personal traits, like energetic and forward thinking, vs. the old-fashioned ways of a mature worker. Share only relevant abilities vs. listing every duty you've done over your 30-year career span. Too much experience can shun an employer. This is the age of lifelong learning. Keep your skills current by attending classes, workshops, earning a degree or certification, participating in online webinars, etc.

Resumes and Cover Letters

No career assessment would be complete without attention to resumes and cover letters. For older workers, key elements to a successful approach include:

  • Accomplishments vs. Duties. Highlight your unique value-added accomplishments at companies you worked for, vs. mere duties.
  • Contact Information. Provide any links to your professional online presence, including blogs and/or websites.
  • Digital Resumes. Write a targeted resume for each desired position. Use industry-specific keywords to help with search engine optimization (SEO), to increase the odds of being read by a person.
  • Education and Training. If you earned your degree more than 20 years ago, omit your graduation date.
  • Qualifications Summary vs. Objective. A qualifications summary highlights your major accomplishments, skills, education and personal traits. It's a brief paragraph or bulleted list that employers can easily scan; and provides more insight than an objective.

Always include a well-written cover letter. It increases your odds of grabbing an employer's attention; and provides an opportunity to expand on information not resume appropriate, including salary history.


Today, computer skills are essential, both in the workplace and during your job search. Increasingly, employers require such abilities for hire; and many available jobs are now posted exclusively online. Research a company's website to determine its key players. Use industry-related key words in online applications, cover letters and resumes. "This is not the time to say you are too old to use technology or have no use for it," says Silvis.

Now, social networking is a necessary component of your job search. Maintain a professional presence on the big three platforms: Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter. Many employers use these sites as recruitment tools; and mastering them can increase your odds of being discovered for industry-related positions.


Networking is a ubiquitous word; and its need is often downplayed, especially regarding mature workers. "Creating a solid support system is important for job seekers, especially as they age," says Silvis. It's challenging to conduct job searches in a healthy economy and even tougher in an anemic one.

Build and nurture long-term relationships; and you're networking. It's also a two-way process. Before constructing a contact list, define your networking goals. The most successful network includes a mix of both personal and professional contacts. Consider everyone you know, including your dentist, hair stylist, Post Office clerk, etc. Choose enthusiastic, optimistic people. Finding a job is often a numbers game; and it's never too late to begin or resume networking.

Attitude, Appearance and Energy

It's not easy to maintain a positive attitude when you experience a job loss before you're ready to retire; but you must, especially as a mature worker.

It's hard to hear that your appearance needs updated, but it may be a roadblock in your job search. Comb-overs on balding men, and outdated hairstyles can convey antiquated skills as well. Consider doing a makeover at a department store or salon. It will not only enhance your appearance but boost your self-confidence too.

Employers seek candidates who will fit in and bring positive energy to the workplace.

Mistakes Job Seekers Over 50 Make

  • Failing to Get Along with Other Generations. Today's workplace is multi-generational, with as many as four different generations working together. As a mature worker, you must ask yourself how you'd feel being interviewed by someone your children's or grandchildren's age? Could you interact as a colleague instead of a parent figure?
  • Unwillingness to Change. A younger interviewer may be concerned that an older worker is stuck in their comfort zone; and resists change. Expand and consider how your skills can be industry-transcendent, if your former field is extinct.
  • Being Overqualified. "Having too much baggage, even in the form of experience, should not be mentioned," says Silvis. Focus on specific skills and accomplishments, not your previous titles, which can make you seem overqualified."
  • Not Embracing Technology. Make sure you're current in the software programs employers are requiring in want ads and job descriptions.
  • Lack of Enthusiasm. You must convey your enthusiasm and eagerness to land the job through your mannerisms and words. Express your anticipation.

Who's Hiring?

Job seekers over 50 may be surprised at the number of their seldom-considered employment options. They include:

  • Adjunct or Full-Time Teacher/Tutor. Teaching is a wonderful opportunity, for you as an older worker, to convey your expertise to younger generations.
  • Entrepreneurship. Launch a business of your own, utilizing your niche skills and expertise.
  • Government. Think out of the box with regards to government jobs. Consider Homeland Security, the IRS and U.S. and state transportation departments, parks and recreation, etc.

Instead of applying for traditional jobs, use your imagination and creative skills to land an exciting, enjoyable job in a fun environment, or create your own. "Sometimes a complete change of venue affords the most rewarding opportunities," says Silvis.

Creating a Success Plan

Statistically, mature workers endure a longer job search. Persevere. Be willing to put everything you have into your employment search, until successful. Set goals, write them down; and take consistent action to achieve those goals. Break major goals into secondary goals that serve as benchmarks toward your progress. Tie each secondary goal to action steps. Realize that setbacks are inevitable, but persist.

Expect to find the right position for you. Reinvent yourself, if necessary; and adapt to available jobs. Challenge yourself. Step out of your comfort zone; and try new things. Visualize success. Be constantly aware of what you're aiming to accomplish, and what it will like when realized it's realized.

No one will ever care more about your career and job search than you. Throughout Job Hunting Over 50, "Take Charge" summary boxes serve as signs of your career success accountability.

Finding employment in mid-life does have its own challenges; and Silvis shows us it's possible. Preparation, persistence and positivity are key. Many libraries and programs funded at the federal, state and local level, provide workshops on topics including Behavior-based interviewing and resumes. Make sure you're utilizing your community resources to gain a competitive advantage; and realize your employment goals.

Timothy Zaun is a blogger, speaker and freelance writer. Visit him online at

Source: EzineArticles
Was this Helpful ?

Rate this Article

Article Tags:

Career Book Review


Job Searching After 50


Carol Silvis








Mature Worker

Finding and collecting vintage comic books for fun and profit is something that is interesting, but can be difficult. With so many places to look, narrowing down the options can be painstaking, until

By: Jorge Orduna l Book Reviews > Comics Humor l July 07, 2012 lViews: 286

Action packed story that reads like you are there in person. Lieutenant Commander Andrew Carlson was a U.S. Navy Seal. He was as rough and tough as they come. He was part of a mission to be inserted

By: Cy Hilterman l Book Reviews > Mysteries Thrillers l July 06, 2012 lViews: 278

"Look Me In The Eye, If You Dare!" Okay, all of You "Internet Millionaire Moguls," I want some answers, and I want them now.

By: Travis L Perkins l Book Reviews > Internet Marketing l June 29, 2012 lViews: 310

Crush it is a great "How to" book on using social media and being real with yourself on what you do. Gary is very passionate about what he does. The key to his success is blending who he is with what

By: Joe Mosed l Book Reviews > Internet Marketing l June 29, 2012 lViews: 547

My resolution this year was to knuckle down and do something to bring in some new clients for my practice, so I was pleased to see that Internet Marketing Bible for Accountants looked like it might

By: Karen K Jefferson l Book Reviews > Internet Marketing l June 29, 2012 lViews: 296

When promoting your business online, are you using internet marketing? If you have yet to spread your branches into the online world, you ought to consider doing so.

By: Joyce McNeill Christopher l Book Reviews > Internet Marketing l June 29, 2012 lViews: 282

We all have the potential to become stars in the workplace. Years ago I read a great book called "How to be a Star at Work" by Robert E. Kelley. This book continues to be one of my favorite career

By: Linda Cattelanl Book Reviews > Careersl June 12, 2012 lViews: 185

The Federal Resume format utilizes keywords within the format of the resume. Understanding how to use keywords to enhance your resume is the most important factors to success in job hunting in

By: Shadeed Q. Eleazerl Book Reviews > Careersl May 29, 2012 lViews: 209

The federal government is the largest employer in the United States. More than 2,700,000 employees work for the federal government in civil service positions.

By: Shadeed Q. Eleazerl Book Reviews > Careersl May 25, 2012 lViews: 181

Military Transition for IT Professionals Are you currently working as an IT Specialist in the Armed Forces and planning to leave your military career?  Wondering what to do next?

By: Shadeed Q. Eleazerl Book Reviews > Careersl May 25, 2012 lViews: 160

I was doing great. Two beautiful children, a doting nanny to raise them. A newly purchased Victorian home within ear shot of Lake Michigan. A career that seemed to be going nowhere but up. Sadly

By: Crystal J Casavantl Book Reviews > Careersl May 15, 2012 lViews: 178

"Getting a job is like parking, you have to be at the right place at the right time." This is very true in the 21st century and not so true in the past for getting a job. When this book arrived I was

By: Jacqueline Ann Paulsonl Book Reviews > Careersl April 22, 2012 lViews: 191

New York Times bestselling author, Linda Castillo, released "Gone Missing" on June 19. It's the fourth in a series featuring former Amish woman Kate Burkholder. Excommunicated from the church, fate

By: Timothy Zaunl Book Reviews > Mysteries Thrillersl June 29, 2012 lViews: 334

On September 18, 2007, Randy Pausch delivered his now, world renowned speech entitled, "The Last Lecture." Pausch was a professor of computer science at Pittsburgh's Carnegie Mellon University,

By: Timothy Zaunl Book Reviews > Biographies Memoirsl June 16, 2012 lViews: 259

Pulitzer Prize-winning author, Anne Tyler (The Accidental Tourist), returns with her 19th fiction book, "The Beginner's Goodbye." Tyler has a talent for portraying ordinary lives with humor and

By: Timothy Zaunl Book Reviews > Fictionl June 07, 2012 lViews: 266

Whether you create a physical product, or a product as an experience or service, how do you keep developing it over the course of its life cycle? In today's hyper-competitive marketplace, you need to

By: Timothy Zaunl Book Reviews > Businessl June 06, 2012 lViews: 157

Six diverse men and women enroll in Emma Yoder's six-week quilting class, each bringing their unique life story and challenges to the group dynamics. Their lives are re-invented, as Emma befriends

By: Timothy Zaunl Book Reviews > Fictionl May 25, 2012 lViews: 214

Is your company (regardless of size), eager to become more innovative? Phil McKinney, author of the new book, "Beyond The Obvious: Killer Questions That Spark Game-Changing Innovation," leads the

By: Timothy Zaunl Book Reviews > Businessl April 23, 2012 lViews: 209

Discuss this Article

comments powered by Disqus