Ask James: How do I find a new career at 50?

Struggling to find career advice for over 50s?

In his monthly column, career coach and Chairman of, James Reed, shares his expert advice to help you tackle your biggest career concerns.

In this month’s column, James gives his top tips on how to find a new career at 50…


The question…

Hi James,

Do you have any advice on finding work for a jobseeker over the age of 50? I’ve been hunting for a job for sometime now, without much success.

I have plenty of experience and skills to offer, but as an older woman I often feel like I’m at a disadvantage in the job market. How can I prevent hiring managers from overlooking me just because of my age?



The answer…


Hi Deborah,

Sadly, your experience certainly isn’t unusual. It’s a fact that in spite of legislation to prevent age discrimination, mature job seekers can still face bias when looking for work.

Don’t lose hope though. There’s plenty that you can do to overcome this hurdle and to improve your chances of landing a job.

Older workers offer plenty of benefits over their younger counterparts, that businesses will miss out on through ageism. As well as having more experience, they typically make very reliable and responsible employees.

If you’re concerned that your age is working against you, then it’s important to shift the focus away from your age and onto your ability. Consider leaving out older experience that dates back more than ten years from your CV and omit dates in the section listing your education.

If your approach has been to tack on new experiences to a CV that hasn’t altered in years, then you need to make some more drastic changes. Sometimes the problems that older workers face finding a job aren’t actually down to age discrimination, but rather an outdated approach. This can be especially true for those who’ve been in the same job for a long time.

If that’s the case, then now’s the time for a refresh. And that doesn’t just apply to your CV.
One of the biggest concerns that employers have about hiring older job seekers is that you’ll be a “Luddite” when it comes to new ways of working. You can offset these concerns by investing in courses to get you up to date with the latest technology and training.

For older job seekers, networking can be especially key to your job search. More senior roles often aren’t advertised and finding out about them can be dependent on having good connections. Don’t be afraid to reach out to people you’ve worked with over the years – this is where your years of experience can give you an advantage.

When it comes to the interview stage, you need to tackle the negative perceptions employers might have about your age. Stress the positives, in particular your experience, perspective and the stability you can offer.

While the jobs market can present more of a challenge for mature job seekers, it’s important to focus on your abilities and to upskill yourself where necessary to make sure that your industry knowledge is up-to-date.


Wishing you all the best.


Jobs for older people



If you’d like James to answer your career query, tweet your question to @James_A_Reed



Looking for more interview advice?  Download ‘Why You?’ now