Skip to content

8 Common Mistakes Older Job Seekers Make

  • avoid these mistakes to find a job over 50
    Getty Images

    Job-Hunting Mistakes

    En español | Age discrimination can make it harder to find a new job, but job seekers can also undermine their own efforts by making these eight errors. Correct them before they cost you your next opportunity.

    1 of 11
  • Zohar Lazar

    Mistake: Kicking Back and Taking a Break

    Fix: Keep busy. Employers look for self-starters. Remain active by consulting or blogging in your field, so you can raise your profile.

    2 of 11
  • Zohar Lazar

    Mistake: Using Dated Email Accounts

    Fix: AOL and Yahoo email addresses mark you as dated. Consider creating a professional email address for your job hunt with Gmail or Outlook. If your name has already been claimed, add something that identifies your profession, such as jsmitheditor or jsmithmarketing.

    3 of 11
  • Zohar Lazar

    Mistake: Missing a Digital Presence

    Fix: Tweet, friend and connect. Consider this: Recruiters use LinkedIn and other social media tools to find candidates. "The biggest mistake I see is older job seekers confusing privacy with invisibility," says Susan P. Joyce, an online job-search expert.

    4 of 11
  • Discover yourself through your work. Caucasian man in suit stands talking to seated group of younger people

    AARP Offer: Discover Yourself Through Your Work

    AARP’s Job Board is a great way to find the perfect job for you. The Work and Jobs section of our website also includes valuable tools, information and resources to achieve your professional and income goals.

    Keep up with the latest tips on job hunting and more by signing up for the AARP Webletter.

    5 of 11
  • Zohar Lazar

    Mistake: Lacking Salary Flexibility

    Fix: Temper salary demands. This is a deal breaker for lots of older workers, who find it insulting to be offered less than they were making in their last job. One way to soften the blow is to negotiate for more flextime, vacation days and other perks that can bump up your package so you don't lose face.

    6 of 11
  • Zohar Lazar

    Mistake: Overlooking Contacts

    Fix: Network, network, network. This is business. You never know who might be in a position to help or introduce you to someone who can. Dig deep into your network to connect with folks you may have worked with years ago, or college and high school classmates (think Facebook). Even parents of your kids' friends can help.

    7 of 11
  • Zohar Lazar

    Mistake: Overdoing Your Résumé

    Fix: Limit yours to two pages. Recruiters will scan it in 20 or 30 seconds. Choose a traditional font such as Times New Roman. Tell a story with short snippets: that you cut costs by a certain amount, or improved sales by 25 percent. Restrict your work history to the past 10 years. And proofread it!

    8 of 11
  • Zohar Lazar

    Mistake: Ruling Out Jobs

    Fix: Don't overthink the job description. Treat a job posting as an ideal. Often it's a wish list of what a company would love a new employee to have, but only a number of the requirements are really essential. A good attitude and a solid work history will carry you the rest of the way.

    9 of 11
  • Zohar Lazar

    Mistake: Waiting for the Perfect Job

    Fix: Stop living in the past. Don't pass on a job because you don't think it's an ideal fit. It might be; it's just not what you had been doing. When it comes to landing a job, don't be stuck in the idea that you need to replace the job you had before. Look at your skill set and experience as transferable.

    10 of 11
  • AARP Work & Jobs end slide collage
    11 of 11