How Older Job Seekers Can Leverage Experience to Find Work

A recent study has found that a growing number of older job seekers are not only looking to stay in the workforce longer, but are using the internet to find work.

According to a the survey by Millennial Branding, while most applicants are using some type of online source to scout for work, nearly 30% of candidates 50 years and older were more effective at it comes to landing a job.

But as the search continues for the Baby Boomer generation, older job hunters may encounter a number of roadblocks when it comes to selling themselves, especially when it comes to mid-stream career changes.

Kerry Hannon, author of the new book “AARP’s Great Jobs for Everyone 50+,” told Time that older job seekers who are looking to transition into a new field must take stock of their current skills to determine their future career path.

Hannon said that while older candidates may want to add additional training on their resume by taking courses from a community college or certification program, there is not always a correlation between education and post-50 employment.

“I think the big differentiation is the willingness to try new ways of work – an open mind about what work they want to do, and breaking out of old expectations and patterns. And frankly, for the professional types there is plenty of opportunity if they are willing to step into a new field – redeploying current skills by, say, moving to a nonprofit or health care field by using financial and accounting skills,” Hannon noted.

However, Hannon said that older applicants, who often have a difficult time marketing themselves, must have a strong resume with relevant skills and a solid work history to be considered a strong candidate.

“Experience doesn’t get you a job. Skills do. That’s what people need to sell hard and shamelessly,” Hannon added. “Employers want someone who can solve their problem right now; no hand holding, no investment needed in training. If you can show how your skills can do that, whom you worked for five years ago is a sidebar.”

Older job seekers may want to use an online resume builder to help them craft a detailed resume with relevant information for their chosen field.

What an older job seeker’s resume should include


The AARP said that older applicants should still try to limit their resumes to one or two pages while tailoring each document to a specific job. Older job seekers should only include recent job experience – within the past 15 years – on their resume, as well as any transferable skills.

Candidates should always focus on their accomplishments, not just their past job duties and quantify them with results and outcomes. For example, AARP said certain achievements can be
demonstrated through action verbs such as “increased sales by 40%,” or “exceeded fundraising goals by 60%.”

Since larger numbers of mature candidates are using the internet to search for jobs, their resumes need to contain industry specific keywords that will help it stand out in a company’s applicant-tracking system.

Older job seekers can leave out their dates of education and most early job history.

Resume formats

While there are 3 types of resume formats, AARP said that older job seekers should decide which one to use based on their goals. A chronological resume still works well for candidates who have had constant employment in a certain industry and want to remain in that field. A function resume, which is organized based on skills, is best for those making a change, while a combination resume will help those who want to demonstrate key skills they demonstrated throughout their career.


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