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Job Fair

Breaking Into the Job Market Over 50

  • Author: Nina Wladkowski
  • Updated: September 26, 2017
  • Published September 26, 2017

Whether you've been out of the job market for some time or you find yourself looking for a new field, finding your footing in a job market filled with younger competitors can seem daunting. Times have changed, technology is new, fields you know have disappeared and new ones are constantly emerging: fresh and exciting opportunities are on the horizon. With these job hunt tips, you'll be confident as you submit resumes, walk into an interview and maybe even try your hand at a new endeavor.

Update Your Resume

  • Remove items over 10 years old. If you aren’t getting any hits as you start applying, you may want to consider removing dates of employment and instead list length of employment.
  • Be sure to list volunteer work and additional successes you’ve had outside of the workplace that may be relevant. Established a fundraising drive with your kid’s soccer team and met the goal? Developed and crafted a website for your personal blog? Add them to your resume to show off your skills!
  • If you earned a degree over 10 years ago, it may be beneficial to leave off the date the degree was earned. However, if you’ve received additional trainings or certifications recently, be sure to include them to show you are open to learning and growth.
  • Update Your Online Presence

  • Create a LinkedIn profile to make connections and keep up to date on goings-on in your industry.
  • Still using an old email address from the days of dial-up? Upgrade to a new, more commonly used email platform. An email address with an older name after the @ might signal issues with technology and leave you missing out on an amazing opportunity. Be sure to choose a professional name for your revamped email handle; keep for personal correspondence and use something like for your professional contacts.
  • Make yourself visible to possible employers—do you have an online presence like a personal website or blog? If the content is professionally appropriate, be sure to include links on your resume. Be active with that LinkedIn account, as well, by liking, commenting on or even writing and submitting articles.
  • Make an Effort to Get With the Times

  • If you don’t have one, establish a presence on Facebook and Twitter. Both platforms can be essential to networking and keeping updated on industry trends and advances in business. Keep your social media presence clean and professional, as well: don’t post, comment on, or like anything you wouldn’t want an employer to see.
  • Take online or specialty classes to boost your knowledge of new industries, practices or essential skills. Unsure of how a new word processor, gadget or process works? Find a way to learn about it and add that knowledge to your resume.
  • Prepare to be interviewed by someone who may be younger than you. If you feel it will be helpful, do some research about working with later generations.
  • Reach Far and Wide

  • Apply to positions you’re familiar with, but don’t be afraid to branch out and try for something more high level, either. Don’t sell yourself short by applying for positions you’re clearly overqualified to do. If possible, be flexible on salary. It might be more challenging to find a position at your desired pay rate to start.
  • Research places whose audience/clientele is older and put out feelers for positions and hiring possibilities. You have the life experience to guide them down the right path, as well as the ability to make connections with customers on a more personal level.
  • Get active in the community by attending events and presentations that correspond with your interests and the industry—connections made and lessons learned at these events can be instrumental in keeping you top-of-mind with employers.
  • Make the Most of You

  • Jumping back into the job search can be draining and leave you feeling a bit rough. Remember to take time to focus on how you’re feeling and take care of mental and physical health troubles that may arise. Not only will it be better for you in the long run, but you’ll be able to present your best self at interviews.
  • Keep up with hobbies and learn new things that may or may not relate to the job industry you’re applying into. You never know when a side passion project might become your next source of income, as well as happiness.
  • Reach out to people you know who are going through a similar time in life—having a friend by your side to discuss the ebbs and flows of the job market might help you learn a trick or two vicariously or at least give you some good times relaying stories.
  • This article was originally published in the Sept. 24, 2017, print edition of Fall 2017 Job Fair. For questions regarding the Fall 2017 Job Fair, please contact Lisa Hartlieb,