Getting a job after 60: How to master the art

Today, over one million people over the age of retirement have chosen to stay in work. Money is one of the most common driving factors among retirees to carry on working. Yet, our Voice of New Retirement study also suggests that 41% of retirees are driven by the challenges work brings rather than the money, while 34% do it so they can feel a sense of importance.

On the contrary, for younger generations, the idea of working 50 more years can seem daunting, but stay assured, working into retirement is all about enjoyment. Our study revealed that 78% of working ‘retirees’ feel fulfilled and content with their current job.

According to Keith Simpson, Managing Director at - a recruitment agency for workers with over 20 years of experience – if you’re planning on having a second career, it’s far better to seek employment in an area relevant to your experience. “Don’t assume that an employer can make the mental leap to apply your experience to a new job role,” he says “people get typecast in the jobs market by the time they are 30. Don’t think you can easily reinvent yourself at any stage in your career without good credentials.”

Showcasing your experience

Over the past 10 years, the job market has become increasingly competitive in big cities, with more people applying for the same job than ever before. Consumer goods firms report receiving 186.3 applications for every job opening 1. Nevertheless, Keith explains that job seekers are still in a better position now than a year ago due to the growth in UK employment. But “it’s probably around five to 10 times more difficult for a person over 60 to get an executive role that’s being advertised on the open market - due to ‘under the table’ age discrimination by employers and recruiters.”

Although the 2010 Equality Act means age discrimination is illegal, older job seekers tend to feel that their age makes getting a job more difficult. A research conducted by showed that 80% of candidates aged over 50 believed they are the victims of age discrimination.

We asked Keith for advice on how to master the art of getting a job and sell your skills, experiences and age as an asset.

What advice would you give to a 60+ year old who is going to a job interview?

Think like a 30 year old. The big mistake that older people make in interview is to talk too much about the past and what they’ve done. Concentrate on the future and what you can bring to an employer.

It can be hard to build self-esteem, is there any trick to it?

Think positive in the mindset of a commercial salesperson. Don’t be knocked-back by rejection. Remember that ‘No’ is only a word. It’s not personal.

Is it ever too late to start a new career?

It’s never too late to start a new career if you have the commitment and determination. Age doesn’t change a person’s mental approach to work. Someone who was adventurous at 30 is just as likely to be willing to take risks at 60.

However, someone seeking quality employment after 60 is advised to focus on their areas of expertise and experience. Sadly it’s more often a case of, for example, ‘once a bookkeeper always a bookkeeper’. Don’t assume that an employer can make the mental leap to apply your experience to a new job role.

It’s different if a person wants to do voluntary work, charities are more open-minded.

What final piece of advice would you give to all the 60+ job seekers?

Don’t apply for everything and anything. The internet age makes it too easy for candidates to send off CVs in all directions. It’s far better to focus on jobs that match your experience closely and tailor an appropriate CV and covering letter to help you get past the initial screening process. 

Help and support for older workers

If you are wanting to get back into work, or are looking to work longer, click here to view a report from the Department for Work & Pensions which provides help and support.