Job Search, Over 50

How can job seekers over 50 find their dream jobs?

Photo credit: 3Dstock, Shutterstock

Photo credit: 3Dstock, Shutterstock

From a reader:

I saw Kate Horner’s video. It was inspiring. I could relate to quite a bit of it. Her suggestions seem good but I’m wondering how well they will work for someone who is 50+. Do you think older job seekers need a different approach?

In many ways, no.

There are certain basics to a job search that are tried and true: Treating your job search like its your full-time job, staying organized, doing your homework, leveraging your network, building new relationships, and focusing your search are all keys to getting a new job. The same things that worked for Kate should work for you.

However, there are additional steps I’ve seen the more “experienced” crowd employ to give them an edge in the job hunt:

Consider a career coach. If you haven’t had to search for a job in a while, you might benefit from individualized attention of a career coach. A career coach can help you craft and tailor your resume and cover letter (something you might not have had to do for 20 years!) but they can also help you figure out how to use social media tools effectively in your search, explore new industries, and rethink the direction of your next career move.

Explore alternative paths. Consider pro bono work (including projects that utilize your unique skills or even serving on a nonprofit board), consulting, or returnships. These allow you to get your foot in the door and prove that you have the skills and know-how to do the job.

Change your mindset. This might seem straightforward, but it’s important to see yourself from a position of strength not weakness. Remind yourself that you possess life skills, talent and abilities that organizations can benefit from. Emphasizing these strengths in your applications and conversations is another way of setting yourself apart.

The Encore Careers Handbook offers a ton of advice—including how to think about finances, self-assessment tools, and more—for older job seekers looking to change careers. Reading resources like this and others might help you shape your approach as well.

Good luck! Let us know how it goes.

Any advice to share? Share it in the comments.

Have a question? Send it to us and we’ll answer it here on the blog.

About Qiana Williams

Qiana Williams is a senior human resources manager for a global retailer where she is responsible for all aspects of the implementation of HR strategy for more than 200 employees domestically and internationally. Prior to this role, she navigated the for-profit and nonprofit sectors, tackling the various aspects of HR. Qiana has played an active role in her community through board service with organizations such as City Year – Columbus, Communities in Schools of Central Ohio, HandsOn Central Ohio and the United Way of Central Ohio.

4 Comments

  1. Dick

    it’s interesting that age-based affirmative action programs are virtually non-existent compared to those targeted at women and minorities.

  2. lynn

    hmmm… seems like you are suggesting (at least for the short term) that those over 50 need not get PAID work… just pro bono, consulting (ie what everyone says when they are unemployed these days), or a returnship (aka unpaid internship)….

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