In 2020, the employment rate of U.S. workers age 55 and up declined to 36%, down from about 39% a year earlier. Yet, it’s clear—some older workers are not interested in becoming ladies who lunch or gents who play pickleball at the park every day.
Wanna Work….or Gotta Work?
Many 55+ people are like the guy in the financial advisor TV commercial, who confesses to his retirement planner: “The thing is, I like working.” Millions of Americans can relate, whether they continue to work fulltime, shift to part-time, or decide to launch a business. They get bored easily, or they love what they do.
For others, the reasons are more serious: they don’t have enough saved, or a change in circumstances drives them back into the workforce.
You’re How Old?
Whatever the motivation, most are also aware of the prejudice–or sometimes outright disdain–sometimes encountered by older workers.
And that, experts say, should not stop you or discourage you. It should inspire you to stay sharp and remain competitive. And even in these pandemic times, it can be a social experience.
The Social Job Search
Senior Planet talked to several experts about job hunting. Here’s what we’ve found:
- Check out the free online social opportunities at Senior Planet, such as the Tech and Innovation Discussion Group or many others with both career-building and friend-building avenues.
- Visit SCORE (a network of free volunteer small business mentors) if you need some advice about starting—or staying—in a small business.
- Check out professional development courses through your local university or community college. Don’t forget libraries as well.
- Network! Don’t assume other social/networking groups are for younger people only. “A very significant percentage of our members are over the age of 60,” says Dennis Olson, a spokesperson for Toastmasters, a nonprofit educational organization that teaches public speaking and leadership skills through its global network of clubs. It’s a great place to learn how to be more comfortable talking in front of groups, and a goldmine of networking opportunities. It’s got more than 15,000 clubs, so chances are one is near you.
- Visit Linked In, the online site with more than 750 million members. It’s ideal for professional networking, career development—and maybe finding your new boss, your new employee, or a new circle of friends.
Taking the first steps
Senior Planet also ot some great advice from Lyn Chamberlin, president of www.lynchamberlin.com, a firm offering private coaching for workers. She has a soft spot for older workers. She also volunteers for SCORE, a great place for older entrepreneurs.
“There is enormous opportunity for those over 60,” she says. “You have a unique competitive advantage—and that is your experience.” It’s the most important thing you offer, she says, and is highly valued—whether you are staying at a job or starting over.
Don’t depend on a resume to tell your story totally.
More Tips for older job hunters
- Lead with your strengths. Talk about what you’ve done and what lies ahead for you.
- Market yourself. Older adults may look at that as ”tooting their own horn,” but marketing yourself isn’t bragging. Chamberlin describes it as ”having a confident approach when describing what you do and why it is essential.” Don’t depend on a resume to tell your story totally. It is the supporting document, she says. It’s one tool in a larger toolbox. Only you can tell your whole story.
If you have a down day, here’s Lyn Chamberlin’s view of what’s to come. “The job market is alive and well and will only improve in the months ahead. Those with experience are in demand, and new businesses are launching every day. There’s never been a better time to throw your hat in the ring and make the leap.”
Found a job recently? How did you go about it? Share your story and tips in the comments!
Want more options to Get Social? Check out the Senior Planet Community – details are here.