Job searching is often a challenging task regardless of what age you are. However, there is often a common misconception amongst employers when it comes to older job applicants.
Many employers see mature candidates as possibly being too overqualified for the job on offer to even be considered. A lot of employers also feel uncomfortable about the job package being offered not being rewarding or well-paid enough to be able to hold on to a very experienced mature candidate. This can mean older job candidates having to work much harder than their younger counterparts to overcome some unfair barriers presented to them.
Ageism in the Workplace
Ageism is recognized as a discriminatory workplace practice. While employers in many countries are legally barred from discriminating against applicants based on age, certain biases and practices still exist limiting the volume of good jobs for older workers.
Per 2019 Ageism in the Workplace Study, conducted among the US workers:
- 44% know of someone who experienced age discrimination at work
- 36% said that their age prevented them from getting a job after turning 40
- 26% feel that they may lose their job due to being of a certain age
Another report by AARP found that:
- One in four workers aged 45+ has encountered negative comments about their age from supervisors or coworkers.
- 76% of older workers also view their age as a blocker to finding a better job.
These statistics about jobs for people over 50 and the disadvantages they are facing are sobering. But don’t get dishearted. There’s some silver lining too!
Over the past 25 years, the percent of older workers (aged 55 or older) has doubled.
Mature professionals stay longer in the field and don’t rush to retire. This trend, alongside with overall shift towards diversity and inclusion, is prompting more company’s to address the issues of ageism.
The truth is that a mature worker can bring a lot of tried and tested experience to a role that a much younger worker cannot. Having many years of knowledge and wisdom can be invaluable, so this is what you need to bring to the attention of employers. Always remember that you bring a lot of quality experience and professionalism with you that the company can benefit from!
What Are Good Career Choices Over 50?
Being of a certain age doesn’t mean that you should plan a career change (unless you wish to). On the contrary, for most professionals, it makes perfect sense to stay within the same industry, especially if you have a corporate job. Case in point: Only 6% of CEOs at S&P 500 companies are under fifty years old. Thus, if your ultimate career goal is to get promoted to an executive position, it’s best to stay within your professional lane.
And even if you work for a smaller business (or plan to apply for a job in one), there’s still good news for you. Over 57% of small business owners are older than 50 with the number increasing year-on-year. Thus, high chances are that your age won’t be much of a problem.
Great Jobs for 60-Year-Olds
- Sales representative, sales executive, and consultants
- Computer system analysts
- Information security analysts and cybersecurity specialists
- Software developers
- Technical support specialists
- Advertising and promotions managers
- Marketing managers
- PR managers
- Fundraising specialists
- Medical and clinical laboratory technologists/technicians
- Engineering positions
- Business operations specialists
- Financial analysts
- Personal financial advisers
- Insurance underwriters
The data above comes from a report by AARP. It further details that most of the positions assume that the candidate has a degree or vocational education at a minimum. Also, many of these roles require additional training and on-the-job experience.
On the other hand, if you have decent qualifications, you’d likely find an abundance of available jobs. Since most of the above occupations experience a talent gap.
Good Jobs for 50-Year-Olds with No Experience
- Motor vehicle operators (for logistics companies, taxi services, or public transport)
- Customer service representatives or customer success managers
- Real estate agents
- Medical biller or claims manager
- Tutoring or teaching jobs (can be done online)
- Copywriting and content writing
- Retail roles
- Childcare and caregiver jobs
If you’d rather start your career path anew or want to try yourself in a new role or industry, consider the above roles. Most can be learned on the job or mastered via self-education. On top, it’s possible to secure such a position by highlighting your transferable skills from previous jobs.
Need more ideas? You should also check with Glassdoor on companies that hire older workers. The platform regularly publishes curated lists of employers and active job offers.
How to Get a Good Job After 50: 6 Tips
Now that you know about different career options, let’s get to action — prepare you for job search!
By the end of this section, you’ll know exactly how to style your resume, structure your job search activities, and do well during interview rounds.
1. Have a Savvy Resume
While you may have a veritable wealth of valuable knowledge and experience that you can bring to a role, trying to shoehorn too much information onto your resume can actually work against you.
Most employers expect to get a one-page resume. Two pages may do the trick for some too. But definitely not longer. So prepare to give your document a good trim. Specifically, do this:
- Prioritize your list of most relevant skills (hard and soft)
- Analyze which skills employers look for in candidates
- Make a list of your most competitive accomplishments
- Prepare a compelling resume summary, highlighting the above
- Cut down your Work Experience section to the latest 3-4 roles
Your key skills that are relevant to the job you are after should be front and center on page one of your resume Demonstrating that you have all the skills needed plus ten years of relevant experience should be more than enough to grab their attention!
2. Use Your Age As Leverage
Just about every employer will be looking for a suitable job candidate with the right mix of skills and experience to fit the role on offer. Your age can work for you in this situation because your age implies having plenty of experience under your belt. Not only this, but your age also implies a strong sense of reliability and dependability — two very desirable skills that many very young job candidates may lack.
Being very used to a productive work environment where a good knowledge of organizational protocol and procedures can be useful. These are awarenesses that younger workers need to learn and acclimatize too, especially if they are fresh out of college and more used to an educational environment.
3. Push Your Accomplishments To the Front
With age also comes a solid background and work record from previous employers. An employer will know exactly what they will get with you, whereas with a fresh-faced graduate, they are taking a risk because they have no proven track record.
But you do and you should not be shy about it! You should emphasize your key accomplishments relevant to the job on offer and promote your core competencies. When faced with a proven track record, the last thing most employers will think about is your age.
4. Demonstrate Your Flexibility
Show that you are not bothered by a possible age gap with colleagues and have a very modern outlook when it comes to both your personal and professional lives.
You’ll have two prepare at two fonts:
- Online: Show potential employers that you know your way with modern technology. Make sure that your LinkedIn profile is up-to-date and well-optimized. Consider linking up to a digital portfolio (if having one makes sense in your industry) or a personal website.
- During the interview: Get prepared to answer some sneaky behavioral interview questions. Most likely these will be modeled in a way that helps the recruiter assess your flexibility when it comes to working with younger people, taking decisions on the spot, being agile and open-minded in thinking.
5. Prepare to Talk Why You Want a New Job
It’s not unusual for recruiters to wonder by an older candidate is looking for a new job, instead of planning for retirement. Make sure that you have a good answer ready for the interview.
It could be that you feel your current job has become a bit stale and you want to find a new challenge. Or you are looking for a new job with fewer responsibilities that may be a small step down from where you are, but offers you more flexibility, free time, and less work-related stress.
Based on the above, create a succinct answer for the inevitable “why do you want to work here?” interview question. Help the employer understand that by taking you on, they will be greatly benefiting from a very knowledgeable and experienced worker who can deliver proven results. There is no gamble with them taking you on, so they should disregard any concerns over your age and simply hire the best candidate based on their knowledge and experience – which of course is going to be you!
6. Address the “Silent” Longevity Issues
Occasionally, an employer may be reluctant to hire a mature job seeker because they are concerned about how long you plan to stay in the role. They may be looking for a candidate that will be happy to stick around for a long while with their company and will only want to invest their time into someone with a long career ahead of them.
Reassure the employer right from the beginning that you are not simply looking for a job to fill your time until you take early retirement. You are in this for the long haul!
Again, talk about your motivation for working. Explain what success after 50 means to you and how the company actually helps you attain it!
Whether you have been in your present job for a long time and you are feeling a little stale and bored going through the same old motions every day, or you are having to look for a new position following a redundancy, applying for a new job can be a very scary prospect. Hopefully, our overview of the good jobs for 50-year-olds, plus the follow-up career tips made you reconsider!