Alert
Close

Help hungry seniors. Deliver help and hope before Thanksgiving. Donate

Highlights

Close

Real Possibilities

You and Your Town Contest-You could win an AARP RealPad
Introducing RealPad by AARP

Contests and
Sweeps

$10,000 Winter Escapes Sweepstakes

Beat the cold and cozy up to a chance of winning $10,000! See official rules.

AARP-iPad-ePub-app
AARP Auto Buying Program

PROGRAMS & RESOURCES

Best Employers for Workers Over 50

See the latest winners of this AARP recognition program.

Your Own Business

Information for business owners, entrepreneurs and the self-employed.

Back to Work 50+

Connecting employers and unemployed workers 50+.

Most Popular
ARTICLES

Viewed

5 Ways to Prove Your Worth

It's a tough market for 50-plus workers, but remember: employers need people exactly like you

A stack of books against an orange background.

Define your work and financial goals: Pick up Great Jobs for Everyone 50+ today!

2. Focus on Your Targets

Today's smart job seeker makes targeted strikes. Don't get bogged down in massive job databases. Instead, go directly to the websites of companies you'd like to work for and check out the job listings, usually posted under "Careers" or "Employment Opportunities." Your professional association or organization — if you never joined one, do so now — may have a job bank with openings in your field. If you're considering a career switch, check out O*NET OnLine, the Department of Labor's list of new and growing fields.

Ask an interviewer to name the company's biggest challenge — and be prepared to discuss possible solutions.

Next, prepare to meet people who work at your target companies. Learn as much as you can about their key decision makers. Read stories; ask questions. What were their career paths? What are their outside interests? Seek these people out on their own turf. Does their company sponsor a charity run? Try to compete, or at least volunteer. Connect with them over a shared interest, rather than hat-in-hand. Is this a modified form of stalking? Hey, do what you've got to do.

As I wrote in Start Where You Are, I learned a lot from one of the top stockbrokers in the business, Gary Abrahams, who moved from San Francisco to Las Vegas in the late 1970s. Noticing fabulous houses being built on the outskirts of town, Abrahams put on his best blue suit and went door-to-door to meet the owners. Through the new clients he met, he became Dean Witter's top producer in that region.

3. Nail the Interview

When it's time for an interview, make it easy for the employer to pick you for the job. Look through your recommendation letters for positive descriptions, or ask colleagues what they think your strengths are. You can call upon these kudos during the interview to help make the sale.

Most important: Know what you're talking about. "Do your research on the organization, understand what the business does and the industry in which it operates," says SHRM's Jackson. Armed with that knowledge, you can ask questions that highlight your strengths. For example, you might ask an interviewer to name the company's biggest challenge — and be prepared to discuss possible solutions.

Above all, project confidence. "Candidates we hire are people who understand their unique strengths and skill sets and demonstrate right up front a commitment to our mission and an authentic interest in our business," says Paul Hvidding, vice president of human resources at the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA), which has appeared in AARP's list of best employers. "It's almost as if they are saying, ' I have a lot of choices where I spend the rest of my career, but I'm interested in your organization.' "

It's not fair, but some younger hiring managers worry that older workers lack the vitality to keep up. (Interviewers have even been known to sneak in a walk with older applicants, then judge them on their pace.) So project upbeat energy, whether that means a brisk stride or alert assurance when answering questions. And choose an interview time when you're most energetic, says Jackson: "If at all possible, schedule the interview when you are at your best and most alert — if you are a morning person, schedule it before lunch."

Even if you're aiming for a permanent job with benefits, don't rule out a temporary contract. A lot of employers are hiring temps as a way to ride out the recession. Think of a temp job as an audition for a full-time role.

Next: Never sell yourself short. >>

Topic Alerts

You can get weekly email alerts on the topics below. Just click “Follow.”

Manage Alerts

Processing

Please wait...

progress bar, please wait

Tell Us WhatYou Think

Please leave your comment below.

Jobs You Might Like

Discounts & Benefits

From companies that meet the high standards of service and quality set by AARP.

UPS Store membership discount aarp benefits

Members save 15% on eligible products/services, 5% on UPS shipping at The UPS Store®.

membership adt

Small business owners save 20% on new installation of any new ADT security system.

Mujer en la parte de afuera de so negocio

Free quotes for members from the AARP® Small Business Insurance Program.

Member Benefits

Renew today! Members receive exclusive member benefits & affect social change.

Rewards for Good

Your Points Balance:

Learn More

Earn points for completing free online activities designed to enrich your life.

Find more ways to earn points

Redeem your points to save on merchandise, travel, and more.

Find more ways to redeem points

Explore Your Learning Possiblities