31 Good Jobs for Older People: How to Make Money, Stay Active, and Thrive at Work as a Senior
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Believe it or not, plenty of jobs for older people are available. And yes, you can work after retirement—for all kinds of good reasons. For example, maybe you want to earn extra money, help others, meet new people, or explore a career you've always dreamed about but never had the chance to really try out before. Or maybe you've heard that, as you grow older, having a job can provide a surprising number of benefits for your physical and mental health.
The fact is, many of today's seniors are redefining what it means to be retired—by continuing to work. They're discovering that their options for making money are as diverse as their many possible reasons for being part of the workforce. And, of course, there's much more to choose from than just full-time employment. For instance, some seniors start businesses after retirement. Others find part-time jobs.
For seniors over 65, this fact often remains a strong motivating factor: Working past your retirement age can make a big difference when it comes to funding your future elderly years.
This article lists multiple jobs for senior citizens based on various kinds of motivations. (For example, are you looking for a full-time job as someone over 60 who needs to pay bills after a layoff? Are you researching part-time jobs for a 55-year-old woman in your circle of friends who wants some extra spending money? Regardless of your specific motive, you'll find plenty of ideas here.) Plus, you'll learn how having a job can help you stay happy and healthy. And you'll explore useful tips on finding a good job and getting hired as an older person.
This article contains affiliate links. We are compensated with a small commission, at no extra cost to you, for sales made through the links.
Seniors at Work: A Growing Trend
Retirement used to mean the end of your working life. But having a job during one's senior years is now becoming increasingly common. That means more and more older people are figuring out how to make money after retirement. Just take a look at these numbers:
- By 2024, one in four workers will be older than 55, according to Reuters. That's double what it was in 1994.
- Close to half of the new jobs created in 2018 were filled by 55-and-older workers, making seniors the age group with the biggest job growth that year.
- Almost one in three workers expect to be 67 or older when they retire.
In addition, many employers now actively look to hire seniors. More and more of them are starting to recognize that experienced and mature workers often have strengths that some younger workers lack. For example, many older workers exhibit strengths like:
- Loyalty: A Department of Labor study found that newly hired older workers are more likely to remain in a position over the long term than workers who are hired at younger ages.
- A strong work ethic: When asked to name the advantages of hiring older workers, 70 percent of surveyed HR managers cited this quality, according to an AARP report about the value of experience.
- A good attitude: Out of all age groups, workers over the age of 55 demonstrate the highest levels of positive engagement on the job. That's according to the AARP report.
31 Good Jobs for Older People
Seniors can get many kinds of jobs. Aside, perhaps, from some extremely physically demanding occupations, almost any job that can be done by a younger person can be done by someone older. It really just depends on the individual, since everyone ages differently.
In other words, the best jobs for older workers vary according to each person's goals, capabilities, health, and other factors. For example, the criteria used in finding good jobs for women over 50 who still have children at home will naturally be different than the criteria used in finding work for people in their 80s who just want a reason to get out and socialize a few times a week.
Thankfully, there are a wide range of potential jobs for seniors to match all kinds of different motivations and capabilities. The following jobs are arranged by what may be driving you to seek employment. Check out one or more of these categories to see a few practical and inspiring examples:
- You want to stay involved in a prior career
- You want to get out and about in your community
- You want social contact
- You want to help people
- You want to make money and receive good benefits
- You want to work in a job that isn't physically challenging
- You want to stay active (and you are in good shape physically)
- You want to explore a career related to a favorite hobby or lifelong passion
- You want to become an entrepreneur
Unless otherwise noted, the median hourly wages for each occupation are based on May 2021 estimates from the Occupational Employment and Wage Statistics program.
You Want to Stay Involved in a Prior Career
Many seniors want to continue working in their professional fields without having to commit to full-time jobs. By selling their skills and sharing their knowledge on a contract basis, they can keep working while enjoying more freedom and flexibility.
Has your work history helped you acquire a comprehensive resume of accomplishments and a wealth of knowledge in your field? Chances are, the answer is yes. Your skills are valuable, so why not benefit from sharing your expertise?
Companies typically hire consultants for help with specific issues or for guidance during transitions. The pay can be great—especially if you have the kind of expertise that businesses are looking for. Plus, you generally get some flexibility when it comes to determining your hours and working conditions.
- Median hourly wage: $44.71 for management analysts
2. Writer and subject matter expert
Another way to share your knowledge is by writing about it. In this age of information, many people are looking for authoritative content online or in print. So if you're an expert on a particular subject, get your name out there! Begin by starting a blog, publishing articles on platforms such as LinkedIn, or approaching publications related to your area of expertise.
- Median hourly wage: $33.42
Why not teach others about your field? Community colleges and community centers often hire temporary instructors to teach classes for professional development or general interest. So check out your local college, community center, or seniors' center to see what's already being offered and inquire about the possibility of creating new classes based on your particular areas of expertise.
Keep in mind that you don't have to be an academic scholar or professor. Your knowledge and experience could be enough to qualify you to teach self-enrichment classes in a college's continuing education department. For example, if your former career was in the food industry, you could offer to teach a cooking class.
- Median hourly wage: $20.95 for self-enrichment teachers
You Want to Get Out and About in Your Community
Do you have a good driving record? Driving-related positions often make sense for healthy seniors who want to stay on the go.
4. On-demand driver
Services such as Uber and Lyft need independent drivers to take passengers from place to place. Because you set your own hours, on-demand driving is one of the most flexible part-time jobs for seniors. In fact, according to a survey by Benenson Strategy Group, about 23 percent of Uber's drivers are over 50. Plus, two-thirds of Uber contractors have no previous job history as drivers. So these services offer suitable jobs for older people with no experience but clean driving records. (If you're thinking about getting a new vehicle, check out some of the best cars for seniors.)
Average hourly wage:
Varies by location and time of day. For example, one study by the Economic Policy Institute (EPI) found that Uber drivers collect $24.77 an hour, on average. Just keep in mind that you'll be an independent contractor. That means you're responsible for the cost of vehicle maintenance, insurance, gas, and Social Security and Medicare taxes. You'll also probably have to pay a booking fee and commission. So by the time these costs are factored in, the take-home pay for Uber drivers works out to an average of $9.21 an hour, according to the EPI study.
However, you can claim fuel expenses on your tax returns. People who drive their vehicles for work can choose to take deductions by mileage or by deducting car maintenance expenses. (If you choose to deduct maintenance expenses, you can write off a percentage of car payments for leased vehicles as well as a percentage of repair costs.) But it's often a better deal to choose mileage deductions. (According to the IRS, the mileage rate for 2022 is 58.5 cents per mile for business travel.) The IRS can be very picky about vehicle-related deductions, so keep good records.
Deliver food, packages, or other goods from restaurants, stores, or warehouses to the local people who ordered them. (The increased use of services like Amazon Flex and GrubHub is leading to more opportunities.) You need to be efficient in these jobs, since workers are often held to time-frame standards for delivery.
Medical courier work is also becoming more common. A medical courier transports and delivers test results, lab specimens, images (such as x-rays), medications, and other medically necessary items.
Median hourly wage: $15.89
(Wages can vary based on the type of service you work for and whether you are an independent contractor or permanent employee. As an example, Amazon couriers are independent contractors and can set the hours they are available to work. Delivering for Amazon, an independent courier makes a minimum of $18 an hour, according to Ridester. As with driving-on-demand work, Amazon couriers are responsible for paying gas and vehicle maintenance costs.)
You Want Social Contact
Having regular social contact is an important part of a healthy retirement. In fact, a lower risk of dementia and depression are two possible health benefits for working seniors. (Jobs that involve a lot of personal interaction can help seniors stay engaged and boost day-to-day happiness levels.)
6. ESL teacher
Helping others master the English language is one of the best jobs for meeting new people and learning about foreign countries. Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL) certification improves your chances of finding a job, but it isn't always necessary. You can teach overseas and combine work with travel. Or you can stick close to home and meet people from other cultures while helping them acquire English language proficiency.
- Median hourly wage: $28.71
7. Customer service representative
Do you enjoy talking on the phone? Why not help people by answering questions and solving problems? You need patience and good communication skills for this work. Basic computer knowledge is also necessary. But work-at-home jobs are available. And the Occupational Outlook Handbook (OOH) says that some positions in this field are part-time, which can make customer service a good option for seniors.
- Median hourly wage: $17.75
8. Tour guide
Share your love of local attractions and inspire others with your knowledge of history and geography. Depending on the venue, you could meet people from around the world. Public-speaking skills and a good memory are essential.
- Median hourly wage: $14.32
9. Retail salesperson
This is one of the most popular jobs for seniors. And it's easy to see why: Retail positions often have flexible schedules, opportunities for friendly contact with customers, and even healthcare benefits if you work for a larger company. (For example, Costco, Whole Foods, and REI provide health insurance benefits to part-time workers as long as they work a certain number of hours per week.)
Plus, salespeople are often eligible for a store discount. And you could work at a store that aligns with your personal interests—for example, a bookstore if you like to read, a clothing store if you follow fashion, or a sports store if you're athletically inclined.
- Median hourly wage: $14.00
10. Casino worker
Working in a casino is a great option for seniors who enjoy being surrounded by people in an exciting, fast-paced environment. You could deal cards, run the roulette wheel, do surveillance, and more. Casinos often train new employees on the job, but you can also attend a gaming school to learn how the industry works. Casino workers must be licensed by the state they work in.
- Median hourly wage: $13.94 for gambling services workers
11. Event usher or attendant
Do you enjoy attending concerts, plays, and sporting events? Consider helping out—and earning some money—as an usher or event attendant. You could help people find their seats, take tickets, and provide general assistance. These jobs generally don't require much training, and they typically involve part-time work hours. Evening and weekend shifts are common.
- Median hourly wage: $11.75
Are you a real people person? Greeters welcome visitors with a friendly hello as they enter stores or other facilities. Generally, they also answer questions, assist people with packages, keep an eye out for shoplifters, and do basic cleaning. You should be comfortable standing for long periods of time.
- Median hourly wage: $14.03 for retail sales workers
You Want to Help People
Have you reached a point in your life where you want to give back? As a senior, careers in the service sector may offer fulfilling ways to help others by drawing upon your years of valuable life experience.
Do you have a strong background in an academic area? You could help others successfully learn that subject. Plus, tutoring is usually a flexible job since you can often set your own hours and choose your clients.
Your clients could include anyone from elementary students to adult learners. Tutors who know how to help students prepare for college-entrance tests such as the SAT are also in demand. You can work independently by finding your own clients, or you can work for an established tutoring company.
- Median hourly wage: $17.53
14. Personal care aide or home health aide
Want to feel that you're truly making a difference? Personal care aides help people who are disabled or sick by assisting them with basic everyday needs. For example, you could provide assistance with things like errands, laundry, and bathing. But this can be physical work, so you should be comfortable lifting heavier objects and helping clients move from place to place within their homes or while out running errands.
As a home health aide, you could change bandages or dressings, monitor body temperature, and administer basic medications. (Home health aides are usually allowed to perform more medically necessary tasks than personal care aides.)
These types of roles are some of the top jobs for women over 50 since maturity and life experience are highly valued in them. (Although people of any gender can work in this field and a need exists for more males, over 90 percent of care workers are female, according to an article in the Journal of Gerontological Social Work.) Plus, many clients (who are often seniors themselves) prefer older workers over younger workers who may not empathize as much with the difficulties they face.
- Median hourly wage: $14.15 for personal care and home health aides
15. Childcare worker
Help care for other people's children. You could find work in a daycare, childcare center, or as a private nanny. If you don't have formal childcare experience, completing an early childhood education program can help you find a position. (Certificate programs can often be completed in one year or less.) You also may need to complete a criminal record check. And you should have good physical stamina since children have a lot of energy.
- Median hourly wage: $13.22
16. Teacher assistant
Help teachers by working one on one with students and providing other support as needed. Some teacher assistants even work with special needs students. But you may need a two-year associate degree. And you should be in good physical shape. (Although we don't tend to think of teaching as a physical career, the OOH says that teacher assistants sometimes get hurt while doing their jobs.)
- Median hourly wage: $14.12
17. School bus monitor
School bus drivers need to focus on driving, but students can get unruly. So who keeps things in order so that buses travel safely? School bus monitors. If you like kids and can keep your cool in sometimes chaotic conditions, this can be a rewarding job.
- Median hourly wage: $16.95
You Want to Make Money and Receive Good Benefits
Do you simply need more money and financial support? In addition to opportunities to earn good wages, these kinds of jobs offer the chance to receive good benefits, such as a solid health insurance plan—something that becomes even more important as we age.
18. Government worker
Older people who are looking for competitive salaries and great benefits should consider government jobs. (Seniors are well-represented within the federal government workforce, since more than 25 percent of federal workers are over 55.)
One big perk of government jobs is that many of them come with a good pension. Plus, many federal workers are eligible for the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program, even after they stop working. (Unlike the private sector, the government continues to pay a portion of the premiums after a worker retires.)
Search for federal government positions at USAJOBS. And remember that some agencies within the federal government have programs specifically for seniors.
- Wages: Vary widely from position to position
19. SEE Program participant
The Senior Environmental Employment (SEE) Program within the Environmental Protection Agency aims to give experienced workers over the age of 55 opportunities to use their knowledge and applicable work experience by doing meaningful jobs that helps the environment.
People who participate in the SEE Program aren't employees of the federal government. However, they still get paid, and they are eligible for benefits like health insurance and paid holidays.
Starting hourly wages (according to the National Older Worker Career Center):
- Non-typing clerical positions: $7.27
- Clerical and lab support positions: $8.78
- Administrative and tech-support positions: $10.30
- Professional and scientific positions: $12.72
You Want to Work in a Job That Isn't Physically Challenging
Even for active seniors, physical limitations can make it difficult to do certain types of work. But the following jobs are more sedentary, and they can accommodate people with physical disabilities.
20. Temporary office worker
Flexibility is often a big advantage of this kind of job. So if you're a senior who has good days and bad days when it comes to your physical or mental health, temp work might be a good option. As a temp worker, you generally have some freedom to tell potential employers when you'll be available or feeling well enough to work—without making long-term commitments. In addition, many temp jobs involve sitting—without any physically demanding work.
Temporary-staffing agencies can help you find suitable positions. But they might take a percentage of what you earn.
- Average hourly wage: Varies by the type of job you are contracted to do
21. Administrative assistant
Help businesses and organizations run smoothly by answering phones, booking appointments, responding to customers' questions, and doing other administrative tasks. This work is often done sitting down. However, you need good vision for most positions.
- Median hourly wage: $18.21
22. Virtual assistant
These workers do similar tasks to administrative assistants, but they typically work remotely. So this is a great option for people who are looking for jobs for seniors at home. Plus, working as a virtual assistant is possible while traveling since the work can be done anywhere with a good Internet connection.
- Median hourly wage: $18.21
23. Tax preparer
Are you good at doing your own taxes? Why not make some money by preparing tax returns for other people? You don't have to be a certified accountant, but you do need to obtain a Preparer Tax Identification Number from the IRS and pass a competency exam. You could work for yourself or for a large company.
- Median hourly wage: $22.26
You Want to Stay Active (and You Are in Good Shape Physically)
Active jobs can help you stay in shape while you're earning money.
24. Dog walker or pet sitter
Are you an animal lover? Many pet owners are looking for help with their beloved companions. And many are willing to pay substantial sums to keep their pets happy and healthy. However, this job carries a lot of responsibility since you must look after a prized family member.
Sites such as Rover match potential pet sitters with pet owners. Or you can advertise your services within your community.
- Median hourly wage: $13.81 for animal care and service workers
Handy, physically fit seniors can help others with odd jobs and repairs. To find clients, you can advertise in your community or apply for a job with an established company.
One other option for finding clients is TaskRabbit, which works a bit like Uber. The app matches people who are looking to do odd jobs with people who need repair work or help with miscellaneous household jobs. Tasks can range from assembling furniture to fixing plumbing issues. "Taskers," as they're called, must complete a criminal record check before registering.
- Median hourly wage: $20.76
26. Coach or referee
For sports lovers who want to stay active, coaching can be a rewarding job option. Although the pay is often low, working with young athletes comes with many other benefits. Depending on the level you coach, you may need to be certified. Most coaches also need to know basic first aid and complete a background check.
Working as a referee is also a job possibility for senior sports fans. The training required varies by sport and level of competition. You may need to work a lot of weekends and evenings, but you'll have the satisfaction of helping others safely enjoy your favorite game.
- Median hourly wage: $18.74 for athletic coaches; $17.24 for referees
27. Security guard
You may think that working as a security guard wouldn't be a good fit for older people who don't have military or law-enforcement backgrounds. But seniors often have the patience and life experience to succeed in this career. Plus, you can be trained on the job, although you'll likely need to pass a thorough background check as well as a drug test. For armed guards, the training and required qualifications are more extensive.
- Median hourly wage: $15.13
28. Gardener or landscaper
Gardening is definitely a popular hobby among seniors. But did you know it's possible to turn your passion for plants into profits? You could find individual clients in your neighborhood, work for a nursery, or find a job with a landscaping company. This work is often seasonal, and it can involve working in inclement weather conditions.
- Median hourly wage: $16.55
You Want to Explore a Career Related to a Favorite Hobby or Lifelong Passion
Many people put their creative aspirations aside while they work in stable jobs to make a decent living. Maybe you've been one of them. But retirement could be your chance to earn a little money and explore those interests at the same time. Why not do what you love?
29. Musician or singer
Have you always wanted to be on stage? The senior years could be your chance to shine. In fact, even though you might not think of performing as one of the top jobs for seniors over 70, almost nine percent of singers and musicians have passed their 70th birthday. Of course, a performing arts background is helpful, and you should be prepared to put a lot of time into practicing.
- Median hourly wage: $30.49
30. Creative writer or memoirist
Do you have a story to tell? Many retirees draft a memoir or novel once they finally have the time to sit down and write. And the bestseller list is filled with writers who found success late in life. But it's important to brace yourself for rejection if you want to publish your work. That's because making money from creative writing can take some persistence. Meeting with other writers and sharing your work in order to receive constructive feedback can boost your chances of success and add a social element to your days.
- Median hourly wage: $33.42 for writers and authors
31. Artist or craftsperson
Is expressing your artistic side on your retirement bucket list? Although most artists never get rich, activities like painting, sculpture, and crafts are popular retirement hobbies that make money. However, as an artist or craftsperson, you often have to invest some time in finding customers who will purchase your work.
Sites like Etsy make it possible to sell your art or market crafts such as handmade jewelry. And many communities have farmer's markets and arts and crafts fairs that feature local artists.
- Median hourly wage: $17.27 for craft artists; $29.24 for fine artists including painters, sculptors, and illustrators
You Want to Be an Entrepreneur
For seniors who have always wanted to run a business, retirement can be an opportunity to develop entrepreneurial skills. In fact, starting a business is a popular way for retirees to make some money while enjoying the benefits of being their own boss. People in the 55-to-64 age group start new companies at the second-highest rate in America.
So even though we might think of startups as the domain of younger people, many older adults are well-suited for entrepreneurship. After all, today's seniors grew up in a time that had more family businesses, and many of them know what it takes to be successful.
In fact, a lot of entrepreneurial success simply comes down to knowing what people want. That's why the stereotype of young tech entrepreneurs being more successful than older ones is often incorrect. (According to an article in Inc., one study found that a tech business started by a person who is over 50 is almost twice as likely to succeed as one started by someone who is 30.)
Plus, business ideas for seniors are almost limitless. In fact, many of the jobs listed above could be springboards to entrepreneurship—for example, starting a lawn-mowing business or creating a company that assists with tax returns. Another option is to buy an existing business or franchise.
And for senior entrepreneurs who want to be involved in online sales, technology has made it easier than ever to get started—even if you don't have specific products or services in mind yet. Platforms like Amazon, eBay, and Shopify provide the tools to set up your own online sales channels. For example, if you want to pare down your possessions, you can sell items on eBay. And some platforms, like Shopify, can even connect you to products to sell.
8 Benefits of Working as a Senior
Why would anyone choose to keep a job when they could retire (or go back to work when they could stay retired)? For some of us, it boggles the mind. After all, most workers eagerly await retirement. We tend to think of it as our ultimate reward for decades of effort and hard work.
But sometimes, the reality of retirement living doesn't match what we envisioned. In fact, some older people (even new retirees) experience loneliness. Others miss the routine of having a job. In addition, some older adults long for the mental stimulation of working, or they want to explore career interests that they were too busy to pursue previously. And, of course, many seniors simply need more money.
In other words, seniors are a diverse group with many different needs and motivations. But here's something that often gets overlooked: Employment—for seniors especially—can be a truly positive experience. In fact, jobs for retired people can provide obvious and not-so-obvious advantages such as:
1. A paycheck
Without a doubt, being paid is often one of the primary benefits of having a job. (For seniors over 60, retirement can feel like an impossible dream if they don't have enough savings. In fact, one in five workers in that age group don't anticipate ever being able to retire due to financial issues.)
Plus, your ambitions for this stage of life may go beyond simply having enough money to meet your basic needs. Whether you want to travel around the world or pay for your grandchildren's college tuition, you may need extra money to carry out those plans. With the right senior employment, you can fund those goals more easily.
2. A longer life
Many jobs help older people stay active and engaged, which can have important health benefits. And that can lead to longer life expectancy. In fact, one study in the Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health found that delaying retirement for just one year after the age of 65 can lower a healthy senior's risk of death by 11 percent.
3. Sharper mental capacity
Many working seniors feel that their ability to maintain good mental well-being is a large advantage of having their jobs. (For over 60 percent of working retirees, staying mentally active is one of the top reasons for working, according to a Merrill Lynch study.) Research in the European Journal of Epidemiology suggests that remaining in the workforce may also delay the onset of dementia.
4. Greater overall enjoyment
Can working help you feel younger? In the Merrill Lynch study, 83 percent of retirees agreed that it can. Of course, how much you enjoy your job depends a lot on whether or not the job is a good fit for you. But consider this: Working may reduce your risk of depression since retirement can increase that risk by 40 percent, according to research by the Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA).
5. Greater social well-being
Loneliness is a growing problem among seniors. That's why jobs for older adults can be so important. They provide built-in opportunities for social contact and community engagement. Besides, missing the camaraderie of co-workers is one of the most popular reasons for returning to work after retirement, according to a RAND survey.
6. Opportunities to try new things
Transitioning to a new job or starting a business can be tricky when you're younger. (Some people can't afford to take risks because they have families to support, whereas others are focused on climbing the corporate ladder and don't have time to explore different careers.) For older adults, the retirement years can offer the chance to finally branch out or explore ways to make money from a favorite hobby. In fact, according to the Merrill Lynch study, almost 60 percent of working seniors say they work because they want to try something new.
7. Health insurance
Once you're 65, you're eligible for Medicare. But seniors often have healthcare needs that aren't covered by Medicare. That means jobs for retirees that offer health insurance benefits can potentially save you a lot of money when it comes to paying for prescriptions and medical care.
8. More retirement savings
Every year of work adds more money to your lifelong earnings, which raises the amount of Social Security you're eligible for. And if you're earning enough money already, you can probably delay applying for Social Security. Your benefits will increase eight percent for every year you work past retirement age (until you turn 70).
As well, continuing to collect a paycheck can delay the need to start using your retirement savings. That means your investments continue to grow. If you've managed your savings wisely, a few more years of growth could add up to a substantial amount.
However, if you are collecting Social Security and go back to work before your retirement age, you could reduce your Social Security benefits. So it's best to talk to an accountant about the financial implications of working in retirement, particularly with regards to Social Security and retirement savings.
Age Discrimination and Your Job Search
Looking for a job can feel a little intimidating, especially if you've been out of the workforce for a long time. Of course, it doesn't help that some hiring managers dismiss the potential value of seniors because they're "old." And you might worry that you won't fit in if your co-workers are much younger than you.
But consider this: As a senior worker, you can bring valuable contributions to the workplace. An AARP survey found that younger workers actually tend to view their older colleagues as valuable teachers who have unique perspectives and make workplaces more productive.
Plus, according to the AARP report cited earlier about the value of experience, studies show that older workers are more engaged than their younger colleagues, on average. That might be because workers who choose to work tend to be more motivated than workers who feel they can't make the choice not to.
However, despite the many advantages of hiring seniors, age discrimination definitely can impact older job seekers. In fact, more than 60 percent of workers over age 45 say they have seen or experienced a so-called "gray ceiling" that holds older workers back, according to AARP research.
Obviously, this kind of age discrimination can sometimes prevent you from getting the jobs you want. But it can also hurt an organization's productivity and morale. After all, older workers make plenty of valuable contributions that shouldn't be overlooked.
So don't apologize for having years of life experience. Instead, recognize the strengths you can offer to any employer. You've earned your place in the working world.
At the same time, however, try to fight the stereotypes. Don't ask for special treatment because of your age. Always make the effort to adapt to new technology. And take an interest in learning about your younger co-workers. (You may have more in common than you think!)
Also, keep this mind: Even though looking for a job as a senior can feel difficult, it's also tough on younger people who are just starting out. It's all about perspective.
Looking for Jobs as an Older Person: Practical Tips
Older workers often wonder how up front they should be about their age when applying for jobs. After all, "jobs for old people" isn't usually a specific category on job boards, so you're most likely competing with workers of all ages.
Can you compete with younger job seekers? Of course you can.
To succeed, you need to prove that you will be a good investment if hired. So focus on the ways you can add value to an organization instead of focusing on your years of work history. (In fact, try to avoid saying things like "decades of experience.") Also, don't underestimate yourself or make jokes about your age in an interview.
Although every job is different, employment experts agree on the following steps for finding a job as an older person.
Finding Jobs to Apply For
- Do your due diligence. When searching for potential jobs, be skeptical of companies that claim to offer work-at-home-jobs for retirees, especially if they sound too good to be true. Sometimes, these job postings are fraudulent, so approach vague ads with caution. You don't want to be a target for elder fraud.
- Network. Using your personal connections is a great way to find the best jobs for seniors. (Over 60 percent of open jobs are filled through networking, so getting a job often comes down to who you know.) Make sure the people in your life are aware that you're looking for a job. They may not realize you're in the market for work, especially if you're already retired.
Creating a Resume
- Focus on the last 10 to 15 years only. In today's fast-changing world, jobs or activities from further back in time often aren't relevant. Plus, listing older jobs calls attention to your age. You can make exceptions for very relevant past positions, but in general, you don't need to include jobs from long ago.
- Don't date your education. Potential employers don't need to know that you wrote your college term papers on a typewriter instead of a computer. In other words, unless your education was completed in the recent past, you should leave graduation dates off your resume.
- Stay current. One of the top concerns HR managers have regarding older workers is that they may not keep up with technology. So if your job will involve any computer work, highlight your tech strengths. And make sure your email address is professional. (A Gmail address is often seen as the most current email provider.)
- Be aware that the recruiting process has changed. HR managers might search your name on social media, so make sure any accounts you have are professional. Also, remember that it's possible that an HR manager won't read your resume at all. (Many companies now use programs that scan submitted applications for certain keywords. So make sure you include as many of the words that were used in a job posting as possible.)
- Know the language that HR managers look for. Ensure that the terminology on your resume is still relevant. You might need to give it to another person such as a career advisor for feedback, but you should be aware of terms that can make your skills sound dated. For example, resume experts say that an "Objective" statement, long considered a resume staple, is not used much anymore. On a similar note, remove any references to obsolete technology. (Nobody needs to know that you mastered WordPerfect.)
Going to Interviews
- Rehearse. Before you go to a job interview, mentally prepare yourself for the possibility that the person conducting it could be younger than you. And don't judge an interviewer by his or her young age. (Age discrimination can work both ways.) Although potential employers can't ask about age in an interview, it's not uncommon to ask an older job candidate how he or she would feel about working for a younger manager. Before you go to an interview, think about how you would answer this question.
- Be yourself. Despite what you may have read in the media, it isn't necessary to have plastic surgery or Botox injections to look younger when applying for jobs. For older women and men alike, aging gracefully and confidently putting your best foot forward make the strongest first impression. (That said, you don't want to look too dated. So it's a good idea to run your interview outfit past someone else beforehand to get a second opinion.)
Embrace the Possibilities
No matter why you want to work, you can find plenty of options that fit your goals and lifestyle. Good jobs for older people are definitely out there. So don't be afraid to take the necessary steps to get one. Always remember that seniors like you make valuable contributions every day while enjoying the benefits of working past retirement age.