Tuesday, July 28, 2009

7 job search tips for 50+ job seekers

Lately I have been paying attention to people my age (over 50) who are unemployed. (including those who don't dye their gray hair!)

I recently spoke with one person who had sent out over 750 resumes in a year and received 4 responses.

I went OMG!

His response: "That’s better than some other people my age that I know, so I must be doing something right!"

We also discussed some other ideas for him to pursue as part of this mass resume mailing campaign.

Here is the plan we came up with.

  1. Network in non-traditional groups (tech, social media) to break challenge age perceptions

  2. Utilize non-traditional search tools. I recommended a number of job aggregators and local boards outside the big 3 - Indeed, SimplyHired, workforce50, Linkup, jobshouts, etc.

  3. Consider other opportunities – contract, consulting, – look for work places like elance, Guru, Sologig, odesk, and others. Consider teaching at colleges or on-line at schools like Webster or the University of PHX.

  4. Get over the idea that you have to work in a certain business sector. Stretch boundaries. Consider non-profit, etc

  5. Increase your geographic reach. Consider New Orleans, for example. Relocate if necessary, and if possible. You can always move back where you left down the road if you want to

  6. Increase your voice wherever possible, with relevance. people will see it. It might help, and certainly can’t hurt!

  7. Spend time on new things just for you. Be assertive about your job search, but don’t let it consume you.

Photo source: http://AARP.org


  1. This is good stuff, Mike. It's so great that you provide this info for those who can use it. I'll post on my FB page now for all my friends/associates. Thanks.

  2. Thanks for this, Mike. We recently went through an org design process that resulted in some job loss, and a few friends of mine are not sure where to start. They have been provided a nice severance, including some job search help, but these tips will be useful as well.
    Your overall advice sounds like "keep current". There is a lot going on out there, and it is hard to keep up with it all. But just following some blogs like yours would give someone lots of links to follow up on.
    Thanks again,

  3. @Angela - thanks! Appreciate your spreading the ideas. Please add any you might have to your own Facebook page as well!

    @Tim - glad you find the info useful. You just made a great and relevant point about why looking in non-traditional places matters. Career advice abounds on blogs - even though it takes a little work to track it down sometimes.

    Here's a short cut tip for HR blogs: got to http://hr.alltop.com or http://HRMtoday.com for access to more than 1000 blogs/ hr peeps in 2 spots!

  4. Awesome article but you missed something. In 2006 I interviewed with a general manager and later with a recruiter; both were some where in their early twenties.

    When I accepted the job offer my friends went nuts. I was 51 working for a general manager half my age and most probably be the oldest peep in the company. Hear my famous "WhatEVER". I am sure my point is obvious.

    I talk to so many job seekers in my age bracket who would have absolutely refused to consider working for a boss half their age in company of twenty somethings.

    OMG much less "endure the humiliation" of being interviewed by a twenty something. Age never entered my mind or the minds of anyone else here at Jobing. Amazing how a mind set has the potential to limit one's options.

    Angela Rosario

  5. @Angela from Jobing. I'll post this up over ob your site when I get home tonight. And I'll add an 8th very good piece of advice - get past your personal misconceptions that might prevent you from considering a career opportunity!

  6. Great points. A few others:
    9. Join (or start) an "accountability" group--3 or 4 people who meet once a week and hold each other accountable for job-search commitments.

    10. Join industry-specific organizations (e.g., the IABC.com for those in the communications field). Attend meetings--even if it means air travel. Broadens your network and keeps you current on your industry.

    11. Volunteer. The United Way, for example, can place you in a position that requires your skills. Broadens your network.

    12. Seek a "hold-me-over" job before you need to dip into your savings. It can be a one-day-a- week job in retail. An evening job bartendering.

    13. Seek opportunities to get out of your comfort zone.

    14. Build a personal brand. See http://tinyurl.com/l38dnh

  7. @Maureen - thanks for the excellent additional suggestions.

  8. Good tips, Michael. I Stumbled this article for you.

    One tip that I'll add from my own tips for mature job seekers, is to make the effort to keep your skills up to date while using the latest technologies like social media. Be on LinkedIn. Use Twitter.

  9. @jacob - thanks for stumbling the article. It brought a lot of traffice this morning! Checking out your blog later today!

  10. Nice post, Mike! I always recommend, and I'm biased, branching out and going the Older and Bolder route with a seasonal job. On our website, http://www.coolworks.com, we highlight jobs for the over 50s, your words, and we have a group on our social network, http://my.coolworks.com, for the older and bolders to mix and mingle. Join in the conversation and talk to people doing the jobs well past their 50s. : )

  11. Thank you for your informative article. I will take your advice and try the non-traditional search tools. I recently learned they do list different job listings than the big 3. John Frye

  12. One more I would add, as someone who reviews resumes every day: Don't start with "Seasoned", "Veteran", or "Manager with 30+ years of experience in...".
    It may be wrong, but the perception is that person hasn't kept up with technology, won't do well in a non-traditional or online environment, and they won't want to work for someone half their age (good point Angela).
    I've had great luck with employees in this age group and it's because they made it clear that they were energetic, enjoyed learning new technology, and are willing to do what it takes to succeed.


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