It’s an undeniable fact that seniors are making up a larger portion of the American workforce, either because they can’t afford to retire yet or they just don’t want to. And it’s becoming increasingly crucial for those 50-and-over workers to stay professionally relevant.
Yahoo Finance tapped Barbara Corcoran, founder of her eponymous real estate company and investor on “Shark Tank,” to find out how older workers can stay relevant and thrive in a demanding job market.
Keep up with technology
While older employees can be valued for their experience and maturity, they can also be seen as inflexible and resistant to learning new technologies, as found in a 2000 AARP report. In an AARP survey of older workers in 2012, 75% disagree with the statement that they have a difficult time keeping up with all the new technology required to do their job.
To counter this negative impression, Corcoran says learning new technology is the first thing you need to do to stay in the game. “All of our communication today is based on technology and many people who are older don’t make that effort to get on the modern page. You have to if you’re going to live,” she says.
Team up with younger colleagues
Whether you’re in a management position or not, everyone has to get along with co-workers. Corcoran has noticed that older employees get too comfortable interacting only with the people they got started with, and avoiding younger colleagues.
She told Yahoo Finance that your best insurance policy is to make an effort to stay connected to your colleagues and clients. “Think of yourself as Mr. Hospitality because if you ingratiate yourself to people and truly help them, you are indispensable. No one gets rid of the old guy or the old girl who everybody adores,” says Corcoran.
Be open to new experiences
Many studies support the idea that getting out of your comfort zone and pushing yourself to try new experiences keeps you happy and healthy. Corcoran agrees and says it’s important to take advantage of opportunities to learn new skills and meet new people. “The more facets you have to yourself that are new, the more people are attracted to you. So it keeps you on your game, keeps you on the edge,” she says.
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