Tips for Older Job Seekers | Age-Proofing Your Job SearchIdealist and AARP May 30, 2023 10:00 AM
If you’re searching for purpose in your career, joining a mission-driven organization is a fantastic way to dip your toe into social impact. Whether you’d like to transfer your private sector experience or are returning to the workforce after time away, there are plenty of exciting opportunities to apply your skills to a cause you care about.
When submitting applications, it’s important that your materials tell the story of your career; for older job seekers with a wealth of experience or passion for a particular issue area, aligning your professional materials and skillset to each opportunity is key to age-proofing your job search.
We joined forces with AARP to bring you expert advice on navigating the nonprofit job market as an older job seeker. Read on for tips on assessing career goals, adding new skills to your repertoire, and refreshing your resume.
Find out what roles are right for you
The social-impact sector is diverse, with thousands of organizations committed to a range of issue areas. To kick off the job search, your first steps should be to narrow down potential organizations.
If you already have an idea of what issue area you’d like to support, use Idealist to explore related organizations by searching specific keywords, like “children’s literacy” or “photography.” Then, dig into any interesting roles that may be a match for your background and experience. Are there certain skills required in the job description that you’d need to acquire before submitting an application? Keep track of these so you can pursue professional training and upskilling resources (more on that below).
As you search, you may also consider other routes to becoming involved in the social-impact sector. Joining a nonprofit as a volunteer can be a great way to get involved with a mission, as well as give you a head start on building your network.
It’s possible that you’re already deeply connected to the work of a particular organization and want to take on a more official role. If that’s the case—and you have the work experience to back you up—consider becoming a board member. You’ll be able to share your expertise to help determine the organization’s trajectory, while gaining useful insights about the sector.
Add relevant skills to your toolbelt
If you’ve been out of the workforce for some time, review your resume, portfolio, and any other professional materials before starting the job search. You may realize there are gaps between your skillset and the requirements for a particular role.
The good news is that nonprofits value a wide range of skills that you may have gained from previous roles, such as project management, sales, or communication. If you’re a sector switcher, highlighting these transferable skills can help you land your first role in social impact, even if you have no professional experience in the sector.
If you’re returning to the workforce after a career break, or interested in a position for which you have no prior experience, research professional development resources like the AARP and MindEdge Skills Builder for Work online courses. There are plenty of free or low-cost options that can teach you what you need to know, such as HR Fundamentals or courses in nonprofit management.
Age-proof your resume
In our last post with AARP, we shared specific tips for finding age-inclusive employment within the social-impact sector. If you’re concerned about age bias impeding your job search, here’s how to refresh your resume and highlight the most relevant parts of your career journey:
As an older job seeker, your wealth of experience and knowledge of the workforce is an asset to any organization, even if you’ve never worked in the sector.
Just know that Idealist and AARP are here to support you. We hope the above tips and resources help you soar through the job search to find the social-impact role of your dreams.
Looking for age-inclusive organizations? Search for nonprofits through the AARP Employer Pledge Signer program, which lists employers who have committed to building an age-inclusive workforce.Subscribe AGEISM IN THE WORKFORCE Idealist and AARP May 30, 2023 10:00 AM
Idealist strives to help build a world where all people can lead free and dignified lives. Working with others, in a spirit of generosity and mutual respect, we seek to help current and aspiring social-impact professionals to imagine, connect, and act on the issues closest to their hearts.
AARP is the nation's largest nonprofit, nonpartisan organization dedicated to empowering people to choose how they live as they age, advocating for improved health security, financial stability and personal fulfillment for Americans 50-plus.