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Tips for Job Seekers Over 50: Setting Smart Goals For Your Future

written by: Anne Vize•edited by: Michele McDonough•updated: 12/24/2010

What do you do when you find yourself the north side of 50 and unemployed? Some of the best tips for job seekers over 50 involve planning ahead with some smart goal setting and careful strategy development before you panic into applying for any and every job available.

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    Goal Setting

    Setting Career Goals One of the benefits of being over 50 is that you have often already long since mastered the art of setting goals. After all, goal setting is one of the great tips for job seekers over 50, as it allows you to plan your strategy towards something meaningful. You have probably already worked in many situations where goal setting has been a key part of workplace activities and processes. If you've been out of the loop for a while, here's a quick recap of some basic goal setting principles:

    1. Goal setting allows us to be clear and definite about what we want to achieve out of a situation.
    2. Goals can be long term and short term, with specific time frames to make them achievable and measureable.
    3. Sometimes short term goals are also known as objectives. The shorter the time frame, the more specific the goal or objective is the general rule.

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    Planning

    When it comes to planning skills those of you in the over 50 set have it all over the young ones in Gen X and Y. Raised in the job poor decades when unemployment rates were high and company loyalty was key, planning became a tool to succeed in both gaining and keeping work. So good planning skills becomes the next of our tips for job seekers over 50 to retain; these skills will allow you to reach your goals in a logical and considered way. Remember this:

    1. Write your plan down so you can look back over it later and update it as time goes by
    2. Keep your career plan simple and to the point - just include the major things that are significant in your own life's planning process
    3. If you need some help with a career plan, there are always professional career advisors who are on hand to listen and offer advice

    Sometimes a good career plan, some basic reskilling or training, and a hot new look on your resume and cover letter are all it takes to get you set on a whole new and exciting work direction.

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    Big Picture Thinking

    Another benefit of being over 50 is the ability to see the bigger picture with absolute clarity. Gone are those fuzzy thinking days when work seems like the only thing that really matters. The over 50s have a stronger grasp on reality than that and with the wisdom of years comes the understanding that work is not the be all and end all. You only get to go around the block once in this life, so one of the best tips for job seekers over 50 is to remember to do some big picture thinking. Here are some 'big picture' questions to get you started:

    1. Do you really need a full time job, or are there benefits to part time employment?
    2. Can you rework your finance to give yourself more freedom and less financial commitment?
    3. Is it time to re-evaluate your life's direction completely, and consider a 'tree change' or a 'sea change?'
    4. Is it worth considering some re-training to equip you for a new career direction?
    5. Would a change of location bring with it greater job opportunities in your chosen field?
    6. Do you have the skills and inclination to do some volunteer work to give something back to your community?
    7. Do you have a desire for early retirement so you can bring forward plans to travel, learn a new sport or hobby or spend time with friends and family?

    So really the hot tips for job seekers over 50 boil down to three basics:

    • set yourself some goals
    • write a plan to help you reach your goals
    • consider the bigger picture of where work fits within your life as a whole. Good luck!