LinkedIn Tips for Over-50 Job Seekers

March 16, 2012

While conducting a recent LinkedIn webinar for job seekers, I was struck by the number of questions we received on the subject of job hunting over the age of 50.

Fear not, Baby Boomers. There are many ways LinkedIn can be particularly useful for job seekers with extensive resumes. Here are some tips:

Sharpen Your Skills. While those who've been in the workforce for many years have built up many valuable skills, you need to make sure those skills are still in demand. If they're not, you may have to update your proficiencies. Marci Alboher, vice president of, an organization that helps people transition to jobs in the nonprofit and public sectors, says, "Are your skills up to snuff for the kinds of positions you're interested in? If not, spend the time and invest in yourself. In today's environment, you could easily be working another twenty years so it's a worthwhile investment that you can amortize over time." If you're not sure how relevant your skills are, check out the skill requirements listed in the LinkedIn job postings for the positions you want. You can also search for and view the profiles of LinkedIn members who have those exact positions to see what skills those people mention on their profiles. If you have certifications or licenses that you know are in demand, feature these prominently on your profile. Make sure you use current terminology in describing your skills as well. To give a well-known example, "secretarial skills" has been replaced by "administrative assistance." Find out what the dated terms are in your line of work and find their contemporary counterparts.

Emphasize Your Passion. If you're concerned that employers may perceive you as overqualified for the jobs you want, you can draw attention away from a long work history on your LinkedIn profile. You can do this by choosing to list only the last 15 to 20 years of your work experience and / or not including the year you graduated from college. Use your Headline and Summary statement -- often the first elements of a profile that people read -- to display your passion for your work or your excitement about recent developments in your industry.

Show Your Tech Savvy. No matter what job or industry you're hoping to enter, technology will most likely be part of the job. Fortunately, you can use your LinkedIn profile to show potential employers that you are comfortable with current technology. (Simply by having a LinkedIn profile you're already demonstrating a level of savvy about social media!) When it comes to being tech savvy, remember that this phrase also refers to the way technology has sped up the pace of business. Respond quickly to any LinkedIn connection requests or messages you receive to show that you can operate on "Internet time."

Network Across Generations. Many high-level jobs are found through personal connections rather than job postings, so networking is absolutely essential for highly experienced job seekers. Just remember to network beyond your peer group and form connections with people of all generations and experience levels. One great way to do this is through involvement with your university's alumni community. Whether you graduated last year, last decade or last century, you'll always share a bond with people who attended your alma mater. Check out LinkedIn Alumni, where you can quickly search your entire alumni community by employer, industry and geographic location. Then, reach out to alums of every age who work in your field and ask to have a quick chat about your career interests. Most people will be happy to speak with you and may know of opportunities at their organizations. And, with your level of wisdom and experience, you'll surely be able to offer them valuable knowledge or connections in return.

What other strategies have you found to be helpful as an over-50 job seeker? Please share in the comments! Or, tweet us @linkedin.