Advance Blog

December 17, 2021

Job Search Tips When You’re Over 50

Hello Baby Boomers, Ladies and Gentlemen, all of you born between 1946 and 1964 (BE2489-2507) – or about 25% of the world’s population. Still.

You are no doubt proud of a career that has spanned at least 30 years and for some of us even more than 40 years.

Many decades in the workforce that started at a time where telex was the latest technology when communicating with customers and suppliers across borders. We had no laptops or hand-held device and obviously no internet. Direct mail campaigns were not electronic mails but a flyer in an envelope delivered by hand through the postal services.

Most Resumes I see from Baby Boomers “unfortunately” start with these words in the first line of the Career Summary: More than 40 years of work experience…

But let me tell you, the rest of the world does not see our 30 years or 40 years in a career as something in itself to be proud of.

You have to ask yourself these questions – and your answers are what you write in the Career Summary:

  • What have you achieved and accomplished all these years that makes you stand out from the other candidates (young or older)?
  • What it is that you have learned and now master so much better than a 28-year-old and upcoming executive?
  • You probably tell your children that as we all get older, we get wiser and smarter. Fact of life as it teaches us a lot of lessons that we use when bringing up not only children but also younger employees. Now, put some words on exactly that experience. Then add it to your Summary.
  • If you really have 30 or 40 years of experience, you also have 10 and 20. Right? So if you insist in using the sentence “More than 30 years of experience” I suggest you write “20 years” to avoid being cut out from the outset of the recruitment process.

Age proof your Resume with these 5 tips

In fact, it does not matter whether you are 43 or 63 years old; a key point for any resume is to focus on the last 10 and max 15 years of experience. For the remaining years, write: Previous Employments: Various leadership and commercials job in multi-national companies in Asia and Europe.

If your education is before 2000, like 1960’ies, drop the year of graduation. Just write your degree, your subject and university.

First, if you do not show an email in your resume, perhaps expecting that we send you a fax, you are definitely ready for retirement. And if you are still using a Loxinfo or AOL email domain, you are telling people you have been around for a long time. Go change to a Gmail instead.

You must show your mobile number, just one please. Don’t use your business- or even residence number.

No need to tell us that you are into Microsoft Words and Excel, and that you know the internet. LOL.

There’s nothing wrong with a gap between jobs

Don’t worry. Having gaps between jobs are no longer unusual. Gone are the days where you joined a company around the age of 20 and worked through to retirement at 65 – having increasingly bigger and bigger jobs.

In fact, many recruiters will not even notice a gap. Do not place your work period in either the left margin or the right margin but instead into the middle and immediately after your title or company. Use a font size smaller than the company name and your title, plus using a gray colour, will almost make it disappear and not attract the same attention if you use any of the margins. 

Stop using date and month when you present the employment period. Instead of February 2017 to January 2020, write 2017 to 2020.

Source of inspiration for my blog article: Caroline Ceniza-Levine, Senior Contributor at Forbes.

Get real about how much flexibility you have for your search. When you’re over 50, you are more likely than a younger person with fewer years to have a life built around multiple relationships. You might have kids to support, elder care responsibilities, even a significant other going through their own career reinvention. You might have purchased a house at this point, making it harder to just pick up and leave. You might be in a job right now that has broad responsibilities.

Don’t make hiring managers guess or plow through years’ worth of information to pinpoint what your superpower is. Design your story with the highlights readily available. Have clear examples and metrics to share. Be able to talk about yourself with enthusiasm and confidence. If you don’t feel competitive for a job, then do more work around your marketing, research or interview practice till you feel ready. In order to convince people to hire you, you must first convince yourself.

Tom Sorensen, Managing Partner of Tom Sorensen Recruitment Co., Ltd.
Tom Sorensen is an executive search veteran with over 25 years’ experience recruiting in Asia, Europe, and Africa. He has worked in retained executive search in Thailand since 2003 and is recognized as one of the country’s top recruiters and most profiled headhunters. He is also a Partner in NPAworldwide with 567 offices on 6 continents. For more:

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