Career advice from AARP for workers over 50 looking for a job

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Many older American workers say they plan on getting a new job, according to a recent AARP national survey.

Baby Boomers seeking new employment opportunities in their 50s can face unique challenges, but the experience you have to offer after a long career can help you get the job done.

“The economy has come a long way back since the Great Recession,” said AARP Senior Vice President Jean Setzfand in discussing the study conducted by the non-profit organization AARP. “Industries are growing, and experienced workers are attracted to new job opportunities. For employers with a labor shortage or skills gap, they should always consider turning to the experienced workforce,” she added. 

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Workers with more experience have increased levels of engagement, motivation and applied skills, she said. ,

Setzfand discussed with FOX Business the following tips for Boomers who find themselves searching for new job opportunities after hitting the half-century mark.

Boomer: What is driving 50+ workers to look for new jobs recently?

Setzfand:  As people live longer healthier lives today, an increasing segment of the 50+ population wishes to not only continue working but also thrive in the workforce.

With reports of a strengthening U.S. economy leading to more job openings, 50+ workers, like all other workers, are seeking better financial opportunities.

Employers also report a need for both technical (particularly in STEM related fields) and applied skills in their workforce. Experienced 50+ workers have more of both. AARP research has shown 50+ workers have higher levels of motivation, engagement and pose a lower risk of absenteeism.  All of these factors lead to greater productivity and higher profitability.

Boomer: How can Baby Boomer experienced workers best prepare for new job searches?

Setzfand: The job search process has changed drastically in the past five years, let alone 10. And yet, our recent study shows almost half (47%) of 50+ workers we surveyed say it’s been 10 years or more since they applied for a job. Four in 10 (39%) of 50+ workers we surveyed have not updated their resume in 10 or more years.

In addition to updating your resume at least every year, get familiar with the job search process in the digital age. Networking is still critical, and it’s moved to social platforms such as LinkedIn. Make sure you have an updated resume, in addition to an updated professional social media profile.

Boomer: Can you offer any tips for Boomers to help maximize their career potential?                                 

Setzfand: Understand the job you want and what’s required. If you’re committed to a specific geographic area, make sure you research business and occupations in your community that have the best job prospects.

Inventory your skills – don’t sell yourself based on your job title and description.  Think through ALL of your skills and make sure you promote those most relevant to the job you’re seeking.