Job Search in the Digital Age is a free AARP workshop for older adults searching for a job, or looking to switch careers. Contributed: AARP

Teaching older adults how to job search in the digital age

With unemployment at a 10-year low, older adults shouldn’t be afraid to get out there and compete in the job market.

If it’s been a while—maybe decades—since your last job search, don’t bother with a paper resume on high-quality stationary. In fact, skip the paper altogether.

It’s all online now and knowing what apps, websites, digital job boards and social media sites to traverse has never been more important. If the digital world is not one in which you’re comfortable, AARP has developed a free interactive workshop to help.

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Job Search in the Digital Age helps adults 50-plus navigate through job search sites and market themselves appropriately to get the interview, whether they’re looking for their next job or wanting to switch careers altogether.

AARP Georgia will offer the workshops June 9 and 13 in Lawrenceville and Marietta, respectively. Earlier sessions were held in Atlanta. Those interested in reserving a spot should go to states.aarp.org/region/georgia/ or call 866-740-6947.

The workshops were developed by Atlantan Jesse Salinas, national vice president of community program design of AARP, and his staff to give older adults greater confidence in their job search. Trained instructors have facilitated sessions in 34 cities nationwide.

“It’s harder (to find a job) if you’re 50-plus or if you haven’t done a job search in a long time,” Salinas said. “We just want to be able to give people that extra push and confidence. We want them to see that looking for a job takes time and patience.”

In addition to getting online, participants learn how to identify transferable skills, age-proof their resume and come up with an elevator speech—a short summary of their personal brand that can be given in the time it takes to ride an elevator.

“We work on recrafting your resume,” Salinas said. “The resume is not a static document. It has to be custom-written to meet the description of the available job. You need to know what’s the right word to use for what the employer wants.”

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Using social media, such as LinkedIn, also plays a large role in the job search process, Salinas said.

It’s not just that you’re on social media, but what you do with your social media accounts. These are places to post the greater story of who you are and your career passions, he said.

Because “finding a job is a job,” Salinas said job seekers need to do their homework. Find out what companies or areas in which you want to work, research what jobs are available and look at your own attributes for that position.

Older adults may need to up-skill by taking online courses, earning certificates or taking classes at a community college.

The good news for the 50-plus crowd is that jobs are still awarded the old-fashioned way: reaching a decision-maker and convincing them that you’re the best person to fill the position, said Bill Lins, an Atlanta-based certified personnel consultant with 30-plus years experience in helping others find work.

“You have to talk to the person who is hurting and needs the position filled,” said Lins, who coaches job-search skills through his company Jobs 4 All Now.

In this, seniors have an advantage over millennials, Lins said. “Seniors don’t have a problem in talking to people. Instead of putting your information on a search engine, pick up the phone and ask who is the decision-maker. Call them directly. Share your passion with them. Let them know that you are going to make their job easier,” he said.

One mistake made by job seekers of every age: spending too much time working on their resume and searching job boards in comparison to time spent investing on themselves.

Lins said learning what you want and figuring out how to present it with passion is time better spent.

The chemistry with the hiring manager has to be there, and you have to show that you can do the job, but older adults don’t need to be anxious about competing with millennials for employment opportunities, Lins said.

Most business are dealing with brain drain, a massive generational shift caused by baby boomers who are retiring in droves and taking with them a vast wealth of skills, knowledge and business acumen.

“Don’t be intimidated at the millennials; a lot of people are looking for a mature worker. Even a lot of younger businesses are looking for a mature, responsible worker,” Salinas said.

Workshop: Job Search in the Digital Age

Job Search in the Digital Age is an iPhone intermediate workshop, and mobile phones will be provided for practice during the session.

• June 9. 2:30-4 p.m. and 5:30-7 p.m. Gwinnett County Public Library, 2780 Five Forks Trick Road SW, Lawrenceville. 

• June 13. 3-4:30 p.m. and 6-7:30 p.m. Mansour Conference Center, 995 Roswell St., Marietta.

Register online at states.aarp.org/region/georgia or call 866-740-6947.

Source: AARP Georgia

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