A growing number of older adults are either returning to the workforce or seeking employment for the first time.
Financial worries and a desire to stay active and productive are among the reasons more older adults want to keep working.
There are several paths to employment for older adults. These include online job boards, newspaper ads, job fairs, and networking.
The numbers tell the tale: more older adults are either returning to the workforce or seeking employment for the first time. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the labor force among adults age 75 years and older is projected to surge by 96.5% over the next decade. By 2030, 9.5% of the civilian labor force is expected to be older than 65.1
Why are older adults rejoining the workforce?
There are many reasons. Financial strains brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic shrunk retirement savings for many baby boomers. Rising prices caused by inflation are squeezing retirees who are living on a fixed income. Extending their working years can give older adults an extra cushion in their budget and added peace of mind.
And some older adults simply want to work. They aren’t ready for a leisurely retirement, and they enjoy the mental, physical, and social benefits working brings.
Older Americans are living longer, healthier, and active lives—and it’s reshaping the modern workforce. More employers are realizing that age is an asset, not a liability.
Mature generations bring industry insights and experience to the workplace that their younger counterparts cannot. They’re also dependable and hard-working, with a solid work ethic that can sometimes be in short supply these days.
Can you find a job after 65?
Is it hard for a 60-year-old to find a job? Despite the value older workers offer, older adults can still face challenges when looking for employment. Knowing where to find jobs for seniors over 65 is the first step. Whether you’ve been out of the workforce for years or it’s your very first job search, below are some practical tips to help you succeed.
How does an older person find a job?
1. Browse advertised job openings
How can I get a good job when I'm older? Seniors looking for employment often start with advertised job openings. You can find hundreds of job openings posted on company websites, online job boards and career portals, and social media sites (like Facebook). You'll also find positions listed in trade journals and your local newspapers. Some places, such as grocery stores and libraries, even advertise for workers by posting a flyer in their window.
One drawback of applying for advertised jobs is that many other people may be competing with you for the same job. To make sure you don't spend too much time on these listings:
- Focus your efforts on just one or two specific sources, such as a job site for retired professionals or your local newspaper.
- Respond to new job openings right away, as long as they appear to be from a familiar, legitimate place of business. Don’t waste your time on old listings.
- Never give out your credit card number, Social Security number, or other personal information when responding to job listings.
2. Tap your personal network
While you’ll find plenty of listings on job boards, many more positions are never advertised. Often, businesses prefer to hire through word of mouth. That’s why a great source of job leads is people you know—from friends and family members to neighbors and former co-workers. Tell people you’re actively looking for a job and ask if they know of any local businesses looking to hire. Don’t be afraid to ask for a referral if a job seems like a good fit. Those who know and like you are rooting for your success!
If your social network is small, try expanding it by volunteering for a local charity, joining a local networking club, or attending events related to jobs you’re interested in. Once you've spotted an opportunity, aim to learn more about the company and its needs. Call the referral directly to introduce yourself and find out how to apply for open positions.
3. Call your local staffing agencies
Employers looking to bring on people immediately will often work with a staffing agency to fill a vacancy as quickly as possible. While some positions will be temporary, some employers are hoping to fill open positions permanently. Working for a staff agency on a temporary basis may be particularly attractive if you need immediate income while you continue your search for a permanent position.
4. Visit your local American Job Center
In addition to providing general job search services, American Job Centers have relationships with many of the major employers in the region they serve. Find an American Job Center near you and reach out to learn about local job openings.
5. Try cold calling
Are there certain companies for which you’d really like to work? Try reaching out directly to hiring managers by phone to see if there are any currently open positions, or if there will be in the near future. They might not have any jobs available right now, but they could point you to other opportunities within the organization. Be sure to keep a list of names and companies to keep track of who you’ve contacted. After one or two calls to a single contact with no progress, it’s time to move on.
6. Attend a job fair
Larger organizations often hold job fairs to give hiring managers the chance to talk directly with potential employees. A job fair may also represent multiple employers within a single industry. Although these events can sometimes get a bad rap, they can be especially helpful for older job seekers. An in-person job fair gives you the chance to speak face to face with people in charge of doing the hiring at their company. You'll be able to practice “selling yourself.” You’ll get real-time feedback from employers and a sense of the kinds of questions they ask. Job fairs also allow you to hand your resume directly to a person, rather than having it get swallowed up in the black hole of online job boards and mailed resumes.
7. Apply for the Senior Community Service Employment Program (SCSEP)
The Senior Community Service Employment Program (SCSEP) helps older adults get training skills and job placement to re-enter the workforce. You must be at least 55 years of age and have low income to qualify for the program. SCSEP matches applicants with part-time training positions in community service. You'll get the chance to earn money while building valuable skills and self-confidence. Jobs offered through SCSEP range from teachers' aide and childcare provider to maintenance worker.
If you’re accepted into SCSEP, you’ll train for an average of 20 hours a week and earn federal, state, or local minimum wage (whichever is highest). Training periods last about six months. After training, the program will help you find a permanent position.
Most older adults who take part in SCSEP are able to find gainful employment. Ena Nearon, 72, is a perfect example. When she found herself unemployed and in need of additional income during the pandemic, Nearon applied for SCSEP. She received interview and skills training and gained the confidence to apply for a job with the Northern Kentucky Community Action Council. She now helps people sign up for health benefits, and loves her new job.
"It feels good to be out and talk to people in the community, like single moms, and help them,” Nearon said. “I was one of them. I've been in that situation and now my job is to help them.”
To apply for SCSEP, find your local SCSEP office.
Get set up for job success with NCOA's Job Skills CheckUp
NCOA recently launched its new employment tool, Job Skills CheckUp, to help older adults get tips on how to succeed as a mature worker. All you have to do is tell us about your goals, describe your current employment situation, and the Job Skills CheckUp will create a personalized plan to help you find job openings, build a professional network, prepare for job interviews, and more.
As a mature jobseeker, it’s natural to have some fears. You might worry about your ability to keep pace with younger co-workers, adapt to new technologies, or handle other demands of employment. But keep in mind all the value you bring to the workplace: life experience, wisdom, creativity, and a willingness to learn new things. When you combine these qualities with the strategies in this article, you’ll be well on your way to landing the job of your dreams.
1. Number of people 75 and older in the labor force is expected to grow 96.5 percent by 2030, The Economics Daily, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Found on the internet at https://www.bls.gov/opub/ted/2021/number-of-people-75-and-older-in-the-labor-force-is-expected-to-grow-96-5-percent-by-2030.htm