Job search tips for the older worker

The Reality

Here are some job search tips that will help you in your quest for meaningful employment. Indeed, the job market for people over 50 can be very challenging. As you know, companies are constantly merging, downsizing and reorganizing and often the first casualties are older workers. Not fair, but a fact. Older workers will usually spend more time in their job search than their younger counterparts. People over 55 can expect to spend an average of 35 weeks while younger people average 26 weeks. However, you’re not average so read these job search tips for the older worker.

Ask questions about yourself

Before you interview or talk to anyone about your job quest, it’s a great idea to take time for self-assessment. After all, the better you know yourself, the more successful you’ll be at talking about yourself and conveying your best attributes in a job interview. I know, I know, you’ve had decades to get to know yourself but this is a great exercise and you may discover things about you, you didn’t even know.

Here are some questions you might ask yourself:question

  • What do I want in a job?
  • Who am I now?
  • What are my values?
  • Do I need to make a lot of money OR do I want to make a difference?
  • What are my strengths?
  • What are my weaknesses?
  • What are my skills?
  • What are my accomplishments?
  • Do I work well with people? What kind of people?
  • What contributions can I make in a job?
  • What makes me unique?
  • What is my experience and how can I use it in the position I am seeking?

There are online assessment tools you can utilize to get maximum benefit from this process.

Be sure to network

Did you know that many jobs aren’t even advertised to the public? As a matter of fact, the scuttlebutt on new positions is often kept in-house or within an industry where people network to find the right fit. I am part of senior networking groups so I know this first hand.  At these meeting, members talk about job openings – mostly marketing positions in retirement communities.networking

It certainly doesn’t hurt to contact friends and former co-workers to glean info about job openings. If you went to college, see if your Alma Mater has a career network you can use. Consider getting a Linked-In account to network online and utilize other social media. Through online research, you can find organizations that are particular onto your industry where you’ll meet others involved in the job search. One way to do this is through “MeetUp.” Find it online and there is one for just about every interest you can think of.

Dust off that resumeResume

How about this for one of your job search tips? Age-proof your resume by limiting your information from a chronological perspective. This helps you avoid the “too old” stigma. Also, only include relevant and more recent positions because there is no need to list every job you’ve had. If you attended college, don’t list the dates. As far as I’m concerned, any kind of dates are irrelevant and you don’t need to bring them up.

Consider that your old resume may no longer be appropriate so some changes may be necessary. There are tools like Resume Builder that can assist you with updating. Make it easier on yourself and use the same general resume for every job at which you interview and tailor it to each position you are seeking. Be sure to emphasize the knowledge you have in your field as well as special talents and skills you have developed. By the way, 80% of recruiters indicated that the summary at the top of the resume was the most important part.

Re-acquaint yourself with the interview process

The interview process remains the same as employers still would like to know the person behind the resume. If you have not had an interview in a while, you may want to brush up on your interview skills. Read articles or even watch YouTube videos on interviewing. Anticipate the questions and have ready answers. In other words, be prepared! Keep in mind that the person on the other side of the desk may not be a good interviewer so put them at ease by being a good interviewee!

Before you interview, compile information on the company

Since it likely has a website, you can do some online research on the company prior to your meeting. Learn more about their products and services and who their customers are. See if you can find reviews. Do you know anyone who works for the company? You can contact them, let them know you would like to interview and perhaps they would impart inside knowledge that could help you secure a position. They might even give you a referral! A CareerXroads survey found that when someone referred a candidate, they had a far better chance of being hired than one who was not.

Practice an interview with an employer not at the top of your list

Perhaps you could start by interviewing with an employer you are less interested in just to get the practice. Not such a big deal here if you are rejected because you don’t have a lot of emotional investment. It can be a great learning experience you can take with you to subsequent, more important interviews.


It’s another way to get your foot in the door if you have the time. As a volunteer, your perspective employer will experience your capabilities and work ethic first-hand. Companies hire people after they prove themselves as a volunteer!

More job search tips courtesy of AARP

  • Utilize local staffing agencies. Do a Google search by typing the keywords “staffing agencies” and then your city or town.
  • For US residents, the American Job Center is a great resource and just about every county has one. These connect employees with employers. They host hiring events, workshops and pay for job training.
  • Learn about your local Senior Community Service Employment Program (SCSEP). People over 55 who are unemployed and low income have access to this service. This program offers participants new skill building, additional work experience and the opportunity to earn a stipend while seeking employment.
  • Identify in-demand jobs that match your skills and interests and make sure to learn about the companies that are hiring for these jobs.

Sources: AARP,,, the authors personal experience.


If you are an older person looking for a job it can be challenging. However, there are many resources available to help make it easier! When you utilize these job search tips you’ll have an advantage. Even more, you might even edge out that Millennial applying for the same job!

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