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Job search

Make the most of your broad network to look for work.

More U.S. workers ages 55 and over are employed than ever before. That’s a great advantage. However, the average time required to land a job is longer for job seekers over 50. You can take steps to shorten the time you are unemployed. Use multiple strategies for the best result.

Tips to shorten your job search:

  • Take your age and other tell-tale dates off of your resume
  • Be confident. You bring the values of maturity, skill level, experience, and stability
  • Get up to date with training and qualifications in your field
  • Identify your transferable skills and find careers they relate to
  • Rely on your network from family, friends, previous jobs, volunteering, neighbors, etc.

Networking

Employers often connect with job seekers through referrals. This means you increase your prospects of finding openings by knowing what you want and talking to people about it as much as possible.

Older job seekers tend to have broader networks than younger job seekers. Whenever you’re speaking to friends, family, or acquaintances, ask if they know anyone in a position to hire, or more specifically, any employers who prefer hiring experienced workers. Look for job search support groups in your area to join for more job leads and motivation.

Job banks

When searching for a job, be sure to use online options. Employers often post job openings online. They may post jobs on their own company website, or on a general job website. The CareerOneStop Job Finder provides access to local listings updated daily from several national job banks.

Consider registering for multiple online job banks and making your resume available to employers who use those banks to search for candidates. Many professional associations also have job banks just for their field (such as Electrical Engineering or Training and Development) so look for those as well.

The AARP Foundation launched BACK TO WORK 50+ to connect job seekers age 50+ to in-demand jobs in their communities. They also provide job search resources from resume writing to tips for job applications and interviewing.

Employers that seek out older workers

AARP's Employer Pledge Program connects you to companies that hire and value experienced workers. Also check out Retirementjobs.com, which lists jobs and offers “age-friendly certification” to employers that are open to hiring older workers.

Other useful sites include:

Social media

Employers often search for candidates using social media, so it’s helpful to establish or update social networking accounts on sites like Facebook and LinkedIn and let your contacts know what you’re looking for. You can also identify key employers in your area that hire for positions that use your skills, then use social media to reach people who can give you contacts in those organizations.

If you are not sure how to use these sites, use their tutorials to register, or visit an American Job Center for help. Or check out AARP's TEK Academy to learn how to use social media in your job search. Learn more about managing your online image.

What about relocating?

If you are considering relocating, tap the American Job Center network to help find resources and job openings in your new community. You may want to try working for a temporary employment agency to explore different kinds of work, maintain flexibility, and learn more about your new location. Temporary work allows you to check out specific companies, and can lead to long-term employment. Visit Relocation tips for more details.

More resources

Check out these resources for more job search ideas.