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Think Over 50 Is Over the Hill? Think Again

Job Search Tips for People Over 50

over fiftyLet’s face it; the job market is tough right now. And for people over 50, the job market is doubly tough. If you’re a mature worker struggling to find a job, you’re not alone. It can be daunting trying to compete with the younger crowd and changes in technology.

But, don’t be discouraged. Younger isn’t necessarily better. Job seekers over 50 have many highly sought-after attributes. In this article, you’ll find several job tips specifically for people over 50 that can help you search for a job and interview with confidence.

Why the Younger Guy isn’t Your Biggest Competition

According to Elizabeth Lions, Executive Coach and author ofRecession Proof Yourself, one of the largest concerns among interviewees over 50 years of age is that they will lose the job to a younger candidate. “The interviewing and hiring process is the biggest stumbling block (for seniors).” Clients also fear they will be “low-balled” in wages so they give up before they even meet their prospective employer.

So, what’s a struggling, unemployed person over 50 to do to combat these fears? Let them go. Absolutely! When you walk into a job interview truly believing you’re not going to be hired for the position because of a few grey hairs, you’re setting yourself up for failure. Your competition isn’t so much the twenty-something who’s scheduled for the same interview, it’s you.

Think about it this way, you have a lot of experience. Many ‘want ads’ specifically demand five to ten years previous experience in a field. Younger interviewees often answer these ads whether they have the experience or not. Believe it or not, many employers prefer the expertise that comes with your maturity.

Strongest Attributes of Job Seekers Over 50

When walking into an interview, instead of focusing on your upcoming 20-year reunion, focus on your strong attributes. As a senior worker, you have a lot more to offer than you might think. For example older workers:

  • Are Better Able to Handle Stress
  • Have Lower Absenteeism
  • Are More Punctual
  • Are More Committed to Quality
  • Possess Greater Customer Service Skills
  • Have a More Positive Attitude
  • Are Better Able to Multitask
  • Are Less Distracted
  • Have Better People Skills
  • Are More Eager to Learn New Skills
  • Usually Require Less Training
  • Are More Stable
  • More Loyal to a Company

Weakest Attributes of Jobs Seekers over 50

Roy Cohen, career coach and author of The Wall Street Professional’s Survival Guide says though jobseekers over 50 have many attractive qualities, there are some weaker attributes that may sour their chances of sealing the deal. These include:

  • Difficulty knowing how to market themselves. The “I’ll work hard and they’ll take care of me” approach to career management doesn’t always work in the modern age. It’s important for mature adults to learn how to compete in a very competitive market.
  • Older workers may be viewed as “entitled”, expectant of higher salaries, and less willing to roll up their sleeves and do the hard work.

Six Tips for Job Seekers Over 50

Stay Flexible

Susie Aubuchon of McKinley Marketing Partners has some direct advice for jobseekers over 50: “Remove your ego from the equation.” In today’s economy, hiring managers are looking to cut costs wherever possible. They may hire the younger candidate because they know he or she will work for less. So, be sure to stay flexible. Even if the offer is 10-20% less than where you were last employed, be reasonable. It’s better to have a position at a bit of a pay cut than nothing at all.

Stay Current

The world and its technology are changing by leaps and bounds and it’s important for jobseekers over 50 to keep up. This doesn’t mean you need to go out and buy a Smart Phone or an iPad but it’s helpful to have a basic understanding of these devices and what they’re used for.

Basic Internet navigation, software skills and cell phone usage are skills you should have under your belt before starting the interview process. If you feel your skills could use a brush-up, local high schools and colleges often offer basic computer courses to help you get started. If you don’t have the money for the classes, register at a temp agency. Not only can they help you get your foot in the door, they often let you brush up on your computer skills at no charge to you.

Also, during your interview, avoid talking about the way things use to be. Keep the discussion moving around solutions and what your unique resume brings to the table. Reminiscing about the past will only make you look as though you may be unable to keep up.

Do Your Research

Before interviewing for a position, be sure to do your homework first. Get a feel for the company’s position, ethics and demographic. Certain companies are more suited to mature workers than others. Not only does checking out a place before interviewing help you know if you’ll fit in, it will impress your prospective boss!

Modify Your Resume

The good news is you have lots of experience to bring to the table. The bad news is no hiring manager wants to sift through a 5-page resume. Instead of listing every job you’ve ever had starting from day one, include only your experience from the past decade. Also, leave out dates of graduation from high school or college. The numbers will only date you and detract attention from your experience.

Get in with Your Crowd

Art Koff, founder of Retired Brains, suggests visiting websites specifically geared toward jobseekers over 50. Several sites, including organizations like AARP, offer helpful advice, hints, tips and jobs for people in your age group.

Though times are tough, but there is a job out there just for you. Remember how much experience, loyalty and stability you bring to the table and focus on that instead of your younger competition. Stay current, flexible and network often and you’ll soon be embarking on a brand new job adventure!



About Jaime A. Heidel

Jaime A. Heidel is a freelance writer with a passion for helping others. She enjoys writing articles on all subjects and is also a published fiction writer.


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