Why Networking Is So Important As We Get Older

12/02/2015 03.07 EST

...

They may have more experience, but job seekers over 50 are unemployed 5 to 8 weeks longer than 30 to 49 year olds.  That’s according to a study by Professor Connie Wanberg at the University of Minnesota.  We may immediately think the reason is age discrimination.  Although that may be a factor, it is also true that this group is more selective in maintaining personal and professional networks.  Researchers found that older people on average have smaller social networks than younger people.  I am sure that news is not surprising and it implies we become more discerning about who we associate with as we get older.  On the other hand, the connections we have are critical as we launch a job search. Therein lies the dilemma.   No matter what your age, what can you do to expand your network and boost your chances of landing that job?   Actively seek out new projects to learn something new. It stretches your thinking and enhances your knowledge and experience base, but also introduces you to new people and expands your network. Reach out to former co-workers and college friends. LinkedIn, Facebook and other social media tools make it easy.  Rekindle those friendships now rather than waiting until you need to ask for a favor. Join a professional association. By attending events, you will gain more knowledge and perspective about your profession.  If you actively participate, you will also grow your network and be seen as a leader in...