How To Get A Job If You’re Over 50

Richard Eisenberg

When New York City employment attorney Lori B. Rassas wrote The Perpetual Paycheck: 5 Secrets to Getting a Job in 2015, I interviewed her for Next Avenue.  Now, she’s back with an excellent new book specifically for older job seekers, with the provocative title: Over the Hill But Not the Cliff.  So I rang her up again.

Here are highlights from our interview, with blunt advice for job seekers over 50:

Next Avenue: I have to start by asking you about the title. Why did you call the book ‘Over the Hill But Not the Cliff?’

Lori B. Rassas: The perception about older job applicants by some employers is that they get to a point in their career where they don’t want additional stress and they’re happy to coast until they retire. To undermine this, you need to show the employer: ‘I’m not done yet. I want to continue to learn and grow and move up.’ In the job interview, you should talk about things showing that you’re not at the top of the hill yet, you’re still climbing.

How serious a problem do you think ageism is for job seekers over 50?

I think it exists and is prevalent. You should assume you’re going to face it. But a lot of times, I find the cover letters of these people are not so great or they’re applying for the wrong jobs. I look at ageism as one obstacle to getting a job, but it can be overcome.

In some sense, I think the pendulum is shifting a bit, with Millennials moving jobs so quickly. I get a sense that employers want stability and long-term commitments and they’re more likely to get that from older job candidates. So things are almost getting better for older candidates.

You write that the most common reservation about hiring older candidates has nothing to do with their actual age, but what their age represents. What do you mean?   — Find out what she means, tips on getting the jobs, and the complete Forbes article

Job Hunting After a Certain Age? Erase Your Past

Dan Lyons

The new administration has put some wind in the sails of the market and, some would say, the economy too—which is potentially good news for job seekers. But if you’re one of those seekers and you’re of a certain age, career guru Marc Cenedella has some critical advice: “Don’t list any dates on your résumé before the year 2000.”

Just zap it. Erase it. Pretend those years never happened.

Cenedella, founder and executive chairman of Ladders, a professional career site aimed at job seekers in the top 25% of the market, riled up some of his 9 million newsletter subscribers when he offered this guidance in December. “I definitely got some blowback,” he says.

To be clear, Cenedella, who is 46, isn’t saying that age bias is okay. He’s saying that it exists. The first person who reads your résumé will be an HR department screener who will be right out of college. “They’ll say, ‘Wait, this guy was working in newspapers in the 1980s? No way will he understand Snapchat.’ ”

Boom, like that, your paperwork goes into the trash. Sure, this is biased and unfair. But these are the gatekeepers, and you need to get past them.

Trimming the early experience from your résumé might feel dishonest, but the document isn’t supposed to be comprehensive. “Your résumé is an advertisement, not a product manual,” Cenedella says. Confining a résumé to a single page is good advice for anyone.

Fair enough, but once I’ve slipped past Doogie Howser the résumé screener (yes, I’ve just aged myself with reference to a 28-year-old TV show), I still have to go to an interview, right? I’ve heard from countless people who wangled their way into an interview and then could tell, in the first 30 seconds, that the hiring manager had taken note of their graying temples and ruled them out.

Cenedella says you should expect to encounter age bias and have a plan to get ahead of it: “Show them you’re flexible and adaptable. You can collaborate. You can take direction and feedback from younger people.” You might also point out that your more extensive background can be an asset and that the team ought to perform better after adding an experienced hand.

After studying the most successful late-career movers, Cenedella recommends the following:  See What he recommends and the complete Forbes article

How to Make a Job or Career Change at 50+

Going through a job or career change at 50+ can be challenging, especially if you’ve been with the same company for years. Fortunately there are a few things you can do to make sure you get interviews and end your job search successfully.

We invited professional resume writer Virginia Franco to share 7 “musts” when changing jobs or careers at 50+.

I’ll let her take it from here…

Hi, Virginia here. I work with Baby Boomers all the time. Most are incredibly accomplished and passionate about their work.

But there are a few common mistakes I see if somebody hasn’t changed jobs in a while… on both ends of the spectrum… Many job seekers over 50 make the mistake of thinking the job search process hasn’t changed much recently (it has), and others overestimate these changes.

First… What Has Changed – and What Hasn’t

Before we get into my top 7 tips for making a job or career change at 50+, let’s talk about what’s different and what’s the same.

YES – Applicant Tracking System technology must be considered when writing a resume. YES – networking takes place via LinkedIn and YES – video interviews are common.

Despite all the changes, two key aspects remain intact. PEOPLE are still working with PEOPLE to find and interview candidates, and making decisions about who to interview and who to hire is still performed by humans.

Now let’s look at a few things things you can do right away to make your job search successful…

2. Know Your Deal Breakers

Before starting your job search, ask yourself what is important. How many hours a week are too much? How much travel are you open to? How long a commute is tolerable? Are you open to temp or contract work or is a full-time role with benefits a requirement?

Being able to be clear with employers about these factors will save you from wasting time and will allow you to focus on opportunities that are a great fit.

Be careful about bringing these topics up too early when speaking with the company though. As a general rule of thumb, the first interview should be 100% about the job and your abilities, unless they ask about something else.

6. Over-Prepare For Your Interview

Today’s job interviews may be structured differently than they were in your last job search. Especially if it’s been more than a few years.

Panel or group interviews, multiple back-to-back interviews, and video or Skype interviews are more common.

Try to find out the format ahead of time by asking whoever scheduled your interview.

Once you’ve done that, research the people you’ll be speaking with (if you know their names). LinkedIn is a good place to start. Look to see if you have anything in common… mutual colleagues, interests, educational background, etc. That’ll make a good talking point.

And of course, one thing that hasn’t changed at all: You should know about the position, know what’s on the job description, know how the company makes money, who their CEO is, who their competitors are, and everything else like that before walking into the interview (or picking up the phone).

See all 7 tips and the complete CareerSideKick article

9 Essential Tips for Older Job Seekers Looking for Their Next Awesome Opportunity

By Stacey Gawronski

While there’s plenty of universal job advice out there, there’s also a good amount of advice geared toward entry-level candidates, people looking to make a career change after five or 10 years in a specific industry, individuals intent on not job-hopping but career-building, entrepreneurs, and the going-back-to-school group.

Sometimes, it can seem as though few are offering legit tips to a group of people with decades of experience. I’m talking about the over-50 crowd. Where’s the specific advice for this group?

I reached out to several of our career coaches for tailored advice for this particular group of professionals, and here’s what they had to say.

1. Think About Where You’re Valued

Try looking at sectors in which age isn’t viewed as a potential liability, but, rather, as an asset. Think about roles, industries, or particular companies at which senior practitioners would likely be highly valued. Could you be a fit for one of these?

Examples of this may be jobs in which the clients are older adults (e.g., caregiver, retirement services, healthcare, and so on), or young people who need the guidance or support of someone with experience and wisdom (e.g., nonprofits that serve underprivileged youth and schools). Brainstorm what roles might leverage your career capital and, at the same time, don’t underestimate the value of your maturity.

Jenny Foss

5. Draw Attention to Your Accomplishments

Unfortunately, ageism exists, but, fortunately, a resume is not meant to list chronologically everything you’ve ever done in your career. Employers are most interested in the results you’ve delivered, especially in the last 10 to 15 years. The goal when crafting your resume should be to create a compelling, results-driven narrative that shares what you’ve accomplished and what you’re capable of today. If you’re concerned about age discrimination, it’s OK to leave the date off of your education, since it’s not relevant to what you bring to the table.

Melody Godfred

See all 9 tips and the complete “The Muse” article


Looking for Work? Attend AARP’s Virtual Career Fair!


Are you seeking a career change or a new job? If so, plan to attend AARP’s Virtual Career Fair, Sept. 20 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. ET. The fair will feature employers from across the country.Laptop shows user interface of online job search on display screen and a cup of coffee on wooden desk, natural light coming through the window.

This live event is a great way to reignite your career, search for a new opportunity, meet potential employers, get job search advice and connect with other job seekers. You can access all of this from the comfort of your home through your computer.

This year’s Virtual Career Fair will feature several new employers, including Jackson Hewitt, The Hartford and Rockwell Automation, plus returning employers like the American Red CrossAT&TAppleUnitedHealth Group, Toys R Us and Mindteck, to name a few.

As participants of AARP’s Employer Pledge Program, these employers are committed to hiring experienced workers because of the values, skills and knowledge they bring to the workplace. Many of the employers have job opportunities in every state, and more than half of the companies are looking for bilingual candidates as well.

During this online event, job seekers can apply for jobs and ask employers specific questions about the kinds of skills they are seeking and the types of work options they offer, such as teleworking. There will also be live chats with companies like TechHire that will talk about how to seek employment and gain skills for employment in the area of information technology.

If you are an entrepreneur or aspire to be one, there will be interactive webinars on topics such as using social media to market your business and turning a hobby into a successful small business. Plus, attendees will get a sneak peek at AARP’s new Work & Jobs Skills Inventory, an online tool that will help you identify digital skills needed to find a job or excel in the one you have.

Just looking to volunteer? Participants will find local volunteer opportunities that allow them to use their skills as well as enhance and strengthen their workforce skills.

Registration is free and open through Sept. 20 at Can’t make the live event? Register and you will have 30 days to view the career fair and see the jobs available from participating employers, access job search resources and view the webinar on demand.

AARP helps people turn their goals and dreams into real possibilities, strengthens communities and fights for and equips Americans 50 and older to live their best lives. Discover all the ways AARP can help you, your family and your community at AARP. 

Photo: AARP

Also of Interest:

9 Tips for Attending a Virtual Career Fair

The 11 Biggest Mistakes Older Job Hunters Make

Kerry Hannon

Guess what? Older workers get jobs. It might take a little more time for a myriad of reasons from your salary demands to your own lack of imagination about the kind of work you’re applying for, but employers really aren’t out to shun workers over 50.

They do want grown-ups in the shop. We tend to be loyal, even-keeled, reliable. We bring intangibles to the workplace from experience to a vast network of connections. These are not something the whippersnapper cohort can even dream to do at this stage in their lives.

Sure there are all the niggling concerns many employers have, even if they don’t verbalize them, like you aren’t going to play well with younger workers (or bosses). You will only want to do things the way you have done them in the past. You’re a Luddite when it comes to technology. And shockingly, probably to you anyway, that you don’t have the grit anymore to really bring the energy and enthusiasm to the job.

And, let’s be honest, for some of you, they’re spot on. But I have realized from interviewing and counseling dozens upon dozens of jobseekers who are over 50 trying to find work in a variety of fields that the reason you don’t get tapped is because you are guilty of making core mistakes. I doubt any of these no-nos will startle you, but they are all, and I mean it, all worth remembering.

Here are my top 11 mistakes that over 50 job seekers who successfully find great jobs don’t make.

2. Your résumé sucks. Sorry to be so blunt. You haven’t had to show anyone a résumé in years. I get it. So you throw something together and think it’s clear to anyone who reads it how amazing you are, how top of the line, award-winning spectacular. But not everyone even knows the significance of your accolades.

The key is to rein your résumé in to no more than two pages. Most recruiters will scan it in 20 or 30 seconds. Choose a traditional font, such as Times New Roman, in 9- to 12-point size, and use black type on white paper. Other fonts to consider are Arial, Calibri, Cambria and Tahoma.

Stick to the most recent 10 to 15 years of experience. Avoid giving dates when it comes to decades-old experience — and only include jobs if they’re relevant to the work you’re currently seeking. There’s no need for college graduation dates. Match the experience and skills you cite in your résumé with the exact skills employers say they’re seeking in their job posting.

Your résumé must tell a story, not provide a list of job titles and dates. Slide in short snippets such as you cut costs by a certain percentage, increased sales by 25 percent, or delivered project months ahead of schedule.

Proofread your résumé. Of course, you do this, but it’s so easy to miss something. Print it out. Read it again the next day. Read it out loud. Ask someone else you trust to read it. Sloppy mistakes make it look like you’re careless and aren’t that interested in the job.

Finally, before you hit the send button on any electronic communication with a potential employer. Read your note again, out loud, just as you did with your résumé. Beware of auto spellcheck programs. Those instant corrections can be really wrong.

3. You’re too cool to look needy. Most people don’t really use their network to get a job. And the truth is people hire people they know, or people they know know.  This has been the case for ages. It’s human nature and the fear of making a bad hire makes employers extremely risk adverse, particularly in today’s work environment.

You have got to pick up the darn phone. Ask for help and advice. Networking, as I like to say, is just one letter off from not working. If you don’t establish any personal connection to the company, it’s probably a waste of time to even fill out the application

Don’t be reticent about digging way back into your network even to colleagues you worked with three decades ago, or high school classmates, even parents of your kid’s friends. What’s the point of not taking advantage of all the years you have spent in the world– and all those whose lives have intersected with yours who might be in a position to help you?

Unless you were a real jerk to them, or incompetent, most people will want to help you. It makes them feel good. I love it when I can connect people to a possible opportunity, and I suspect most others do as well.

See all 11 mistakes, how to correct them, and the complete Forbes article