By Barbara LaBier
Honing your negotiation skills is a bonus at any age but becomes a necessity as we grow older. Negotiating a satisfactory salary worthy of your experience is a challenge for mature workers. As we age and retire, salary prospects may decline because of age discrimination, transition to self-employment, consulting or part-time employment. Mature workers often times must convince an employer to pay them more than the salary associated with the job. The criteria for a decent salary is based upon experience, education, job responsibilities and the average pay rate of pay for a position. Career coaches advise never to reveal your salary history or salary requirements until an offer is made. Revealing your salary requirements before youíve been offered the job can lower your starting salary.
Be prepared to negotiation by gathering information and planning a strategy that requires that you assess your strengths and those of the competition. Before an interview evaluate the state of the economy as well as the unemployment rate. Also learn about the history and culture of the company. Rehearse several scenarios and your responses to questions concerning salary with a mentor, career counselor or friend. Practice until the information flows easily off your tongue.
When you are older it takes longer to get hired according to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics. For example, people over the age of 55 take an average of 29.9 weeks to find gainful employment, and those under 55 look for a job for about 21.4 weeks. According to the American Association of Retired Persons, the desired salary of the job hunter also affects the length of the search. Those looking for $40,000 to $75,000 take an average of 25 weeks to find a job, and people who expect to earn $100,000 take more than 30 weeks to secure one.
Being savvy to new market trends plays an important role. Older workers may require career coaching to learn how to better market themselves. Others believe that the same methods that worked for them when they first started their career are still as effective today. While some techniques may still be successful, people donít realize that the content, style and format of a resume, for example, has changed in the last 20 years and marketing techniques have changed as well. Money spent on career counseling can save time and help older workers to learn new marketing skills. Getting feedback from a career coach can help in developing self awareness about how you come across to a potential employer. Practicing interviewing with a professional can target skills that need to be developed as well as improving their delivery. While a mature worker offers a background of diverse skills and multi-tasking, updating their resume style plus the ability to send out dynamic cover letters can help them stand out from the crowd in todayís competitive market place. They must write their resumes for the future demonstrating how their skills can earn money for their new employer and help others.
Having too much experience can be tricky. Earlier in your career lack of experience may have resulted in not being qualified for a job. Now when you are older, too much experience can backfire because to an employer experience also means you want more money. Often expectations of an older worker are painfully unrealistic. They need to research how to get a job using social marketing sites on the Internet . A crash course on how to join networks, build a profile and market themselves as well as Networking Netiquette and making contact with others on-line may be needed. The Dummy.com series has published books on marketing for Linked-in, Facebook and Twitter that are helpful in understanding how social media can work for you.
To better grasp the market and apply for long-term assignments, identify industries in your region that are growing or at least stable. Select markets that do reasonably well in good or bad times such as the food industry, transportation, utilities/energy, healthcare and accounting according to the MetLife Study of the New Realities of the Job Market for Aging Baby Boomer.
To succeed in todayís job market workers skill- set must be continually evolving. Mature workers should have a basic awareness of their strengths, passions and values. Rather than enroll in an academic program for a degree, job experts recommend taking on-line certification classes. SkillSoft.com is one organization that provides on-line certification classes in IT and business subjects. For example, the program includes reading on-line books that are part of the program, software, practice session and tests on material that lead up to a certification exam as well as a mentor can help you achieve your goals.
Hiring managers will often judge a candidate based on their technology skills. Aging Boomers who do not keep their technology skills up to date are creating barriers for themselves in the job market because it gives employers one more reason to reject older job seekers. Seek out organizations that demonstrate a management style and work culture that is respectful of all workers. Retirement.com has more than 60 companies that pass a test through its ďAge Friendly Employer Certification Program as well as AARP, according to MetLife Insurance.
Networks are critical for Boomers who often must count on personal relationships to cut through the impersonal electronic application process and age bias. Job coaches advise you to continually build a network and evaluate your skills through skills and assessment testing to give you better insight into your strengths to make sure that they are in sync with the market place