Being a baby boomer in the workplace is not easy.
Whether you’re trying to age-proof your resume, compete with millennials for an interview, or get up to speed with new technologies on the job, older people face age discrimination in the hiring process. Yet more seniors than ever are working longer, seeking new jobs after retirement, and managing great careers.
Research has busted the myths about the older worker, and while stereotypes still exist, many resources exist for finding progressive companies that welcome and seek age diversity in their operations. I’ve pulled together some of the best resources, and a few tactics to understand companies’ hiring practices.
The value of experience
When you’re looking for work later in life, it’s important to focus on your strengths. Older workers bring innumerable assets to the workforce. Let’s look at some of the attributes that employers gain from professionals over 50.
There’s just no substitute for hard-earned experience. All those years of work frequently bring highly developed critical thinking and problem solving skills, along with substantive expertise in a particular field.
If you’ve been working for a long time, you have probably seen your share of workplace drama, and you often have the judgment and people skills to deftly handle situations that younger workers have not yet acquired.
Not to pile on millennials, but employers who hire older workers often say they appreciate the reliability and hard work of their senior employees.
Employees who are hired in their 50s and beyond frequently show much more loyalty to their employer than their younger cohort, who may tend to job-hop while they’re figuring out their career path.
One of the key advantages to having worked a few decades is a deep network of relationships that can be culled to the benefit of the employer.
Older workers have often taken on leadership roles, even if only informally. They have been shown to make great teachers and mentors to the next generation.
Who is hiring older workers?
We know older workers are great. So why can it be so hard for those folks to find good jobs? Luckily, some employers know the advantage of bringing experienced employees into their workforces. So where can you find these companies? There are a few clues to help you assess how age-friendly an employer might be:
Recruiting and training
Look at the company’s practices for recruiting and onboarding new employees. Where are they advertising for new talent? Are they gearing their website and marketing materials to primarily younger workers? Do they tout training programs to help workers upgrade their skills?
It may be tough to assess the company’s benefits before an interview, but see if their website volunteers any information. Do they mention competitive retirement benefits and health packages?
Try to get a sense of the workplace culture. Is the company known for its “millennial”-type perks? Or does it seem like a more multi-generational environment? Look for clues on the company’s website, mission statement, and social media profiles.
Find employers that support age diversity
Thanks to the internet, you’ve got resources at your fingertips that are targeted to your every need. But you can’t trust them all. Here are a few respected, well-sourced places to find jobs for older people:
- AARP’s “age-friendly” employer list – This AARP portal includes a database of employers who maintain policies, practices, and programs that meet the needs of people age 50 and up. You can find part-time, full-time, and flex-time positions, searching by keyword and geographic area.
- RetirementJobs.com – This job board and career advice site is tailored for people over 50. It contains an Employer Reviews section, as well as a Certified Age-Friendly Employer Program.
- U.S. Department of State “Jobs for Seniors” – This list of resources includes pages of resources, from the AARP Career Center to senior job banks.
- Specific resources for older workers – Certain organizations and resources exist solely to assist older job seekers find employment, from launching a second career to reinvigorating your current one. You can find help on how to perfect your resume, do an informational interview, attend a job fair, and land an internship. Explore www.encore.org, The Encore Career Handbook, iRelaunch, and Getting the Job You Want After 50.