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How to Find Work After 50

Try consulting and part-time gigs to get your foot in the door 

By Art Koff | MarketWatch | August 31, 2014

(This article appeared previously on MarketWatch.) 

Many boomers and older Americans wish to continue working well into their 60s, 70s and even 80s; some to create extra income and increase their funds for retirement and others because they want the challenge or would just like to keep busy.

 
Here are nine tips to help older executives, managers and professionals find employment:
 
1. Register with temp and staffing firms in your area, since they typically don't care as much about age as your skills and experience. Many of these firms have clients looking for executives, managers and professionals to handle project assignments for their clients.

(MORE: Looking for Work? Try a Temp Job)

2. Try to get a job interview with an employer that is not your first choice — so you can practice your interviewing skills. You don't want to go to your first interview in a long time with the employer you are really interested in working for and make easily-correctable mistakes.

3. Consider having your resumé rewritten or updated by an expert. The resumé you used years ago is probably no longer appropriate.

4. Look for temporary or project assignments which are easier to find than full-time jobs.

(MORE: 10 Job Interview Questions You Should Ask)

5. Search for a job in areas that connect older workers with employers seeking to hire them.

6. When applying for a job, tell the employer you are willing to start working as a consultant or on a project basis. This often gives you a leg up on younger workers who are often unable to accept this kind of employment. Temporary employment or consulting can lead to full-time work if you seek this kind of employment.

7. Get information on the prospective employer before your interview. For example, contact someone who works for this employer and who went to the same school you attended or was a member of your sorority or fraternity saying: “Hi, you and I went to the same college but graduated at different times. I'm interviewing for a position in your firm later this week. Before I meet with the hiring manager, I would like to test out a couple questions I have about the firm on you and see what you think the answers might be.”

(MORE: How to Become a Highly Paid Consultant)

8. Look at companies with fewer than 500 employees since employers of this size have created a large percentage of the new jobs these past few years.

9. Volunteer with a charity or nonprofit. Although in most cases there is little or no monetary compensation, it’s often excellent experience and might lead to employment with a firm that is seeking that particular experience or appreciates your work ethic. It is also easier to find employment while you are working, since you'll have a better mindset.
 
Art Koff is the founder of RetiredBrains.com, a site that serves boomers, retirees and people planning retirement. He’s also the author of Invent Your Retirement: Resources for the Good Life, published by Oakhill Press.