Getting Hired After 50

What older adults need to know when they’re back in the job market.

Whether you’re looking for full-time work or a part-time position, conducting a successful job search after 50 can be challenging. It often takes baby boomers longer to land a new position, says Robin Ryan, a career counselor and author of Over 40 & You’re Hired! While the average time for unemployed people under 35 to get a new job is just under four months, for older adults it typically takes nine months to a year to land a new position. And securing that new job may even mean changing occupations all together—a recent AARP survey found that 53 percent of reemployed workers 45 to 70 did so. But you can improve your chances of landing a new position quickly by following these simple tips.

Keep Your Resume Relevant

Highlight your experience from the last five to 10 years, emphasizing your most recent accomplishments. Also create a PDF of your résumé so you can easily upload it to online job sites or email it to the contact specified in the job posting.

Modernize Your Search

Pepper your résumé and cover letter with keywords and phrases used in the job posting. Most large companies use applicant tracking systems (also called robots), which filter résumés by scanning for contextual keywords and key phrases, then mathematically score them for relevance. Only the highest scoring ones get through for human review.

Get on LinkedIn

“Create a profile that advertises your strengths and your accomplishments,” says Ryan. Don’t simply copy and paste your résumé though. LinkedIn gives you an opportunity to show a bit of personality and give context to your achievements. Also, be sure to include a professional-looking headshot. No image at all may be off-putting to potential employers.

Look the Part

Landed an interview? Congratulations! Before your in-person meeting, Ryan advises making sure you look contemporary to today’s work world. “That may mean updating your hairstyle, or investing in a new interview outfit.”