Professional Development

Find a job when you’re over 50

Written by Peter Jones

Today’s job market is increasingly competitive—even for the brightest and most go-getting candidates in the field. If you’re over 50 and looking for a new gig amongst fields of millennials, the current state of job hunting can feel overwhelming.

Whether you’re looking to score a job or change your career, don’t panic if you’re a little past the fresh-out-of-undergrad age. It might take you a bit longer to find a good fit and get hired, but it’s possible. Here are some good strategies for finding a fulfilling job—no matter what your age.

Dust yourself off.

Figure out new trends in your desired field and make sure you’re up on them. Improve your skills as necessary, and update your resume. Emphasize the skills you’ve honed over years in the working world and the unique bundle of expertise and experience you bring to the table. Answer this question: How is your age an asset rather than a liability?

Look good.

This sounds shallow, but the better groomed and healthier you look, the more vital you will seem. Stay relatively fit. Get a good haircut. Shell out for a well-tailored outfit. People do judge books by their cover, so present yourself in your most ideal package.

Reach out to your network.

The benefit of your age and experience is the huge number of people that you have gathered into your circle over the years. Make use of the people you know—don’t be shy. Keep your contacts current and make sure to utilize them rather than applying only through online job search boards. It’s still very much a “who you know” world out there, and you know more than the average job seeker!

Don’t fear the interview.

A face-to-face meeting is perhaps your best chance to present yourself as seasoned enough to be reliable, but current enough to be an exciting choice to hire. It’s also a great opportunity to show that you wouldn’t be a culture clash—even at your age. Show that you’re a team player—and humble enough to take your marching orders from a 22-year-old boss.

Know your tech inside and out.

Don’t just get tech savvy. Show off your knowledge. Let potential hirers know that you own and wield the right devices and that you have a social media presence and are actually adept at working with the various platforms.

Don’t forget to negotiate.

Your age, position, and experience are actually an asset—don’t let anyone convince you otherwise. Once you get to the hiring stage and are discussing compensation, remember that you might be due a higher salary point and even a “compensation package” rather than the entry-level of your bright-eyed peers. Ask for what the position and your experience deserve without apology. You’ve earned this!

Stay positive and persist.

Above all, keep a good attitude and don’t get discouraged if things don’t come quickly. It might not happen overnight and you might have to look to a few explicitly age-friendly companies or employers to land yourself in the right spot, but you will find something that speaks to you. Put in the work to update yourself for a new economy, and you will land at a place that appreciates you for your age—not in spite of it.

About the author

Peter Jones