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Getting hired after 50

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Whether you’re looking for full-time work or a part-time position, conducting a successful job search after 50 can be challenging. A recent AARP survey from 2021, Understanding Older Workers during the Coronavirus Pandemic, found that over half of job seekers ages 55 and older were long-term unemployed, where they’ve been out of work for 27 weeks or more. The good news is many companies are looking for mature workers who have decades-worth of experience and expertise, especially if they are lifelong learners who welcome opportunities to gain new skills and mentor younger team members

To help improve your chances of landing a new position quickly, try following these key steps:

Keep your resume relevant 

Highlight your experience from the last five to 10 years, emphasizing your latest accomplishments. Employers often focus on your most recent work history, so use the limited space to call out your strengths and share the skills most relevant to the position. Also, create a PDF of your resume so you can easily upload it to online job sites or email it to the contact specified in the job posting. 

Modernize your search

Most large companies use applicant tracking systems, which filter resumes by scanning for contextual keywords and key phrases, then mathematically score them for relevance. Only the highest scoring ones get filtered through for human resources review.  To ensure your resume and cover letter make it to the next round, include keywords and phrases used in the job posting and the company’s website, as well as any key terms that indicate your knowledge of the industry.  

Get on LinkedIn

Many employers and recruiters will review your online profiles, particularly LinkedIn, so be sure your online presence is professional. It’s not necessary to include everything from your resume, just highlight some of your accomplishments, experience and what you feel sets you apart from others in your field. Be creative and allow your personality to shine. Also, don’t skip the picture and include a professional-looking headshot.  

Make connections

When looking for a new job, it can be beneficial to talk with friends and family to discover available opportunities. They may know of someone hiring or have connections to a company or industry you’re interested in. Along with passing your resume along to the hiring department or their point of contact, they may also be able to provide a reference to help you set yourself apart from other candidates. If the opening is at their company, they can provide valuable insight into the culture, job expectations and even your potential role — helping you be well-prepped if you land an interview. 

Look the part 

Landed an interview? Congratulations! To make a great impression, you’ll want to be sure you’re feeling as comfortable and confident as possible. Before your in-person meeting, research the company’s dress code and choose clothing that matches the season and is contemporary to today’s work world. This can be a good opportunity to give your hairstyle a transformation too. You don’t want to shy away from your age, but small updates can help you present a positive and more modern image.
If you’re applying for a remote position and/or have a remote interview scheduled, take some time beforehand to test drive the meeting software and equipment to ensure your camera, speakers and microphone are working properly, your background is professional and you have proper lighting. Even though you’re not meeting in person, you’ll still want to dress professionally and approach the interview process just like you would if you were headed into the office. 

While finding a job later in life can feel difficult, remember how valuable your skills and experience are in the workplace and the incredible insight you can bring to a team. With the right approach, you can market yourself in a way that shows your unique abilities and your willingness to further build your skills and bring fresh ideas to your organization. 

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