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?
Looking for a new job is not easy for anyone. It can be difficult to put yourself out there, but it will be more comfortable if you build a broad network to draw from. The bottom line is that it is critical to make an ongoing effort to build and expand your network, rather than wait until you need to take advantage of it. Others will naturally want to help you – especially if you have helped them. At the same time, it feels good to help others and play a role in seeing their careers blossom.