6 Tips for Seniors Navigating the Job Market

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If there’s one thing you should know about seniors in the workforce, it’s that their numbers are growing. Employment rates for workers aged 65 or older grew by 117% in 20 years!

Of course, those growing employment rates don’t mean that it’s easy for older adults to navigate the job market. Ageism continues to be an issue throughout the U.S., meaning that some older workers have difficulty finding work. Worse, workers who are reentering the workforce after time away may find it hard to keep up with recent changes to the job search process.

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If you’re concerned about your chances of finding work, we’ve got you covered. Here are a few key tips when it comes to job-hunting for older adults.

1. Check With Your Personal Network

Though most of us default to checking job listings when we’re looking for work, you might be better off checking with your personal network first. A significant number of available jobs aren’t advertised online, which is where word-of-mouth referrals come in.

Though you’ll probably know the value of connecting with past professional connections, don’t forget to check with your network closer to home. Friends, family members, and even neighbors may be able to help with your search. Mention that you’re looking for a job and ask if they know of any businesses relevant to your skillset that are hiring.

2. Consider Finding Companies That Hire Older Workers

Some major companies make public pledges to hire a certain number of older workers. A great place to start is with companies that are part of the AARP Employer Pledge Program. These companies must recruit across a range of age groups without discrimination.

Finding a local branch of these large companies can be a good way to know that your application will get serious consideration. In addition, don’t forget to check for any smaller local brands that have taken similar pledges.

3. Look for Key Phrases in Job Postings

When you hunt through your local job listings, it can be hard to tell whether or not the company culture will accept people over 50. This is why it’s important to look for phrasing around inclusivity regardless of age. The best job postings will note that the company is making an effort to avoid age-based discrimination altogether.

On the other hand, you’ll also want to be on the lookout for phrases that may indicate a search for a younger crowd. The term “digital native,” for example, often refers to younger candidates, as do phrases like “high-energy” and “tech-savvy.” In addition, when employers put a cap on the years of experience they’re seeking, as in the phrase “2-5 years of experience required,” they may not want applicants that seem overqualified.

3. Double-Check Your Resume

Because your resume is a good chance to make the right first impression, you’ll want to brush off the dust from your last job search if you’re reentering the workforce.

Seniors looking for jobs may want to lower the possibility of age-based discrimination in a few ways. First, don’t include dates on your resume. You may also want to remove your earliest work experience, sticking to relevant jobs you’ve had within the last 10-15 years.

In terms of your skills, avoid listing outdated skills that employers will consider standard, such as “typing” or “Microsoft Word.” Instead, highlight your current qualifications and training.

4. Get on Social Media

While you don’t have to have a profile on every social media platform, it’s a good idea to make an account on one key site: LinkedIn.

This site is a great resource for job-seekers of any age, and many employers will check for applicants’ profiles there. As a result, you may even want to include your LinkedIn URL on your resume along with your contact information. Be sure to follow LinkedIn’s tips on creating an ideal profile.

5. Look Into Job Programs and Job Centers

Beyond the standard job search efforts, consider looking into job centers and job programs for older adults. These services may be able to help you get additional skills, training, and even the experience you need for specific jobs.

For example, the U.S. Department of Labor runs American Job Centers throughout the country. These centers help with things like referrals, training, and career counseling. Finding one near you may help you get the right job for your needs.

The Department of Labor also runs age-specific programs like the Senior Community Service Employment Program. This program can help seniors gain work experience via part-time training.

Depending on where you live, you may also be able to find similar programs on a state or local level. Search online to learn what your community offers.

In some cases, you may need to have a low income level to receive job assistance. If you’re getting financial assistance, you may already qualify.

6. Contact Your Local Staffing Agencies

Though many job postings ask for email communication, you can still make job connections with your phone.

One great resource in your area may be a staffing agency. Staffers often need to fill positions fast, and calling to ask about open roles may help you get a foot in the door. If your agency isn’t offering permanent positions, you may still be able to get a temporary position that you might leverage into a permanent role down the line.

Navigate the Job Market With Ease

It’s safe to say that older adults will continue to make up a significant portion of the workforce for years to come, which is why it’s crucial to know how to navigate the changing job market. No matter your age or level of experience, the tips above can help you start your search and find a position that fits your needs.

As you work to find the role you need, don’t hesitate to check out our other posts for additional lifestyle tips.

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