After spending the past seven years in accounts payable at a flooring installation company, Veronica Simmons, age 54 and living in San Diego, is looking for a new administrative position.
As right hand to the chief operations officer, there's no possibility for further promotion. She says she's solved the company's major problems and is looking for a new challenge. But, she said, "there is that demon in my head telling me you're too old." So she sought the services of a professional who helped her build a résumé that highlighted her skills and experience rather than just listing each job chronologically.
Within two months of her job search, she's already been offered two administrative positions — one in the hospital industry and another in the transportation industry. She's continuing to interview and has two more interviews scheduled, since the jobs paid per diem and didn't offer a guaranteed number of hours a week. She's gotten a lot of responses from head hunters and others reaching out to her on LinkedIn. "I'm very excited" about the prospects, she said.
Simmons is among the many age 50 and over looking for a new job. According to a December,2017 survey by the Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies, 66 percent of baby boomer workers either expect to or are already working past age 65 and do not plan to retire. But it's not always easy for these workers. Though June 2018 unemployment data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics paints a rosy picture, with an unemployment rate at 3.1 percent among those over 55, close to record lows, that only tells part of the story.
An April 2018 report by The New School's Schwartz Center for Economic Policy Analysis finds many of these are low-wage jobs. And the unemployment rate only includes those who actively sought work in the last month. Adding in those who want and are available to work, or who are involuntarily working part-time, the over-55 unemployment rate increases to 8.6 percent, or 3.5 million who can't find a job. And a 2017 AARP report found that workers age 50 and over are more likely to experience stagnant wages and dwindling job opportunities.
Starting a job search can be daunting for those with a circa 1980 résumé who last interviewed before the advent of the internet. So how do you get a leg up over your younger counterparts? Experts weighed in with tips on ways older workers can make the best possible impression.