Networking at 50-Plus

Networking at 50-Plus

You're working on your job search. You've done your due diligence and understand the importance of professional networking, but if you're over 50, the traditional networking rules of going to professional meetings and handing out business cards won't be enough. Experience is a good teacher. Here are some lessons older job seekers may not realize they've learned.     

Know Your Sweet Spot

First, you must be clear about what type of job or company you're networking for, says Keith Ferrazzi, author of Never Eat Alone and Other Secrets to Success, One Relationship at a Time. Younger applicants are generally broader in scope. However, "the more ambiguous you are, the tougher it is," Ferrazzi says. "Older folks should have a clear understanding of their sweet spot -- where they'd be good and why. When you're over 50, you've got credibility. Give clarity to the experience that's behind your focus."

"Ask anyone who cares about you," Ferrazzi adds. "You never know who'll play golf tomorrow with the person you talk to today. You don't know who your dentist knows or who your brother-in-law knows at work." These people have "a higher level of confidence recommending someone over 50 than someone who's stretching for a job," he says. Besides, they have more contacts than younger people.

Be Your Age, Just Don't Act It

Older people tend to be more reserved when asking about potential contacts or jobs. "Get over it," Ferrazzi says. "Act like a young person." But, notes Daniel J. Kadlec, author of The Power Years: A User's Guide to the Rest of Your Life, "never appear desperate. You want people to recognize your accomplishments and professionalism before they recognize you're job hunting. Of course, you're not; you're simply open to new opportunities."

Find a Mentor, Be a Mentor

Ferrazzi encourages more than reaching out to younger people -- ask them to mentor you. Jack Welch, former chairman and CEO of General Electric, had a 25-year-old mentor and assigned 20-something mentors to his top executives. "Don't be embarrassed to ask how the world works today," says Ferrazzi. In return, you can mentor your mentors by offering your own experience.

Not Your Mother's -- or Father's -- Networking

One way the world works, of course, is online. "This is not your mom-and-pop networking anymore," says Jean Cummings, a personal branding strategist and resume consultant who works with many over-50 executives. "Today, the Internet is key, even for job seekers who did not grow up with it." Business Web sites like LinkedIn and social sites like Eons are "good ways to connect with people in your target companies and in your field."

So is the Business Network International, which bills itself as "the world's largest referral organization" and includes regional chapters and vast databases. In addition, the AARP has business and social community boards.

Make Time for Face Time

After identifying contacts, arrange face-to-face meetings, Cummings says. If the organization where you seek to work is accessible, such as a local business or small company, simply walking in is an effective way to get a brief interview, she adds. "You'll immediately separate yourself out from those who only send paper and electronic resumes," she says.

When reaching out to contacts, "articulate your personal brand," Cummings says. "Put the emphasis on what you uniquely bring to a job in terms of experience, wisdom, savvy and knowledge. Offer a sense of the challenges and opportunities their organization may be facing, and your thoughts on how you can improve their ability to make money, save money, limit risk, innovate and solve problems."

Don't apply only for posted jobs, Cummings says. "Since you're able to talk the language of your business or industry, and you're up on the latest trends, ask your contacts about jobs still in proposal or development stages," she says. "You could help create your own new job."

Cummings also suggests networking through trade associations you already belong to. Call people with whom you've worked on past projects. Many association Web sites have active discussion and bulletin boards.

Kadlec offers these additional hints: "Raise your profile by authoring an op-ed in your local newspaper, or maybe even a regular column. Give speeches to local clubs. Join some boards, and help out with a charity. These are all good ways to impress people who may be in a position to hire or recommend you." 

Latest Jobs

American Council on Exercise
Posted: 06/30/2015
San Diego, CA, 92123
Prestige Staffing
Posted: 06/30/2015
Austin, TX
Synchrony Financial
Posted: 06/30/2015
Alpharetta, GA, 30005
Posted: 06/30/2015
Sarasota, FL, 34232
Posted: 06/30/2015
Robertsdale, AL, 36567

Want more personalized results?  Update Your Profile


Monster Communities

Teaching Community
Where teachers meet and learn.
Create and connect.
Networking for the career-minded woman.
Nursing Link
Where nurses call the shots.
More Monster Communities

Monster Partners

Scholarships, financial aid and more ways to pay for school.
Find top campus and online degree programs.
Military portal for the US Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps and Coast Guard.
Financial Aid
Scholarships & financial aid.
Staffing for Government Jobs
Staffing and hiring solutions for federal government agency jobs.
More Monster Partners

Job Hunt Strategy

Six Ways to Make a Recruiter Hate You
If you want to blow your chances with recruiters -- and, by extension, with the companies they work for -- here are six perfect ways to do so.

Resumes & Cover Letters

Rev Up Your Resume to Relocate
Hoping to relocate? Get the ball rolling on landing the right job in the right location with these expert resume and cover letter tips.


100 Potential Interview Questions
Interview questions can run the gamut. You probably won't face all 100 of these, but you should still be prepared to answer at least some of them.

Salary & Benefits

10 Questions to Ask When Negotiating Salary
Most of us aren't natural negotiators, but asking these 10 questions during salary negotiations can help you get everything you deserve.

Employee Sourcing

Alt text
November Monster Employment Index Grows 13% Year-Over-Year, Tenth Consecutive Month of Positive Annual Growth.

For Seekers

Campus and Online Degrees
Advance your career and earn more with an online degree.
Free Salary Wizard
What are you worth? Find out and negotiate a better salary.
Research Careers
Get information on jobs and career paths to help guide your choices
Questions & Answers
Find answers to all your career related questions -- powered by Yahoo! Answers
Resume Distribution Service
Our distribution service puts your resume right in the hands of recruiters.
Resume Writing Services
Our experts will craft a keyword-rich resume that stands out in the crowd.
More Career Resources

For Employers

Career Ad Network
Target your job posting to more candidates on thousands of websites.
Hire Right Background Checks
Explore our background check packages to improve the quality of your hires.
Hiring Home Page
Find the best candidates for your business with Monster hiring solutions.
Job Postings
Find the right solution for your hiring needs. Starting at $99.
Power Resume Search
Monster's new search technology precisely matches people with your jobs.
Resource Center
Find staffing insights, labor trends, HR best practices and more.
Target Post
Connect with skilled, hourly and administrative candidates for only $99.

Social Media

Jobs on Twitter
Find jobs in your area and industry.
Monster Careers
Tune into our career advice and discussions tackling a wide range of topics and industries.
Monster Corporate & PR
Stay up-to-date on the latest news. Get the 'Who', 'What', 'When', and 'Why' on all things Monster related.
Monster Customer Service
Got a Monster question? We've got the answer. Whether you're a job seeker or employer, we can help you find the answers you need.
Monster for Employers
Find advice on hiring.
Follow Us
Check out our many pages and stay connected with the latest industry news, events, career advice and job openings.

Other Links

Monster Company Profiles
Explore companies and get information to guide your career decisions.
Compare Salaries
See how your pay stacks up to others in your field.
iPhone Application
Download the Monster app for iPhone and iPod touch.
Monster Job Seeker Blog
Monster Job Seeker Blog.
Monster Thinking Blog
Monster's Recruitment Trends Blog.
Jobs & Career Resources
Search Jobs:
For Employers: Post Jobs | Search Resumes | Advertise
About Monster | Work for Monster | Advertise with Us | AdChoices | Partner with Us | Investor Relations | Social Media
Terms of Use | Privacy Center | Accessibility Center | Help | Security | Contact Us | Sitemap | Mobile
©2015 Monster - All Rights Reserved U.S. Patents No. 5,832,497; 7,599,930 B1; 7,827,125 and 7,836,060 MWW - Looking for Monster Cable? - V: 2015.12.0.54-310