Entering the Job Search Baby Boomer Age is Just a Number Heres How to Present Yourself featured image

Entering the Job Search, Baby Boomer? Age is Just a Number. Here’s How to Present Yourself.

Updated April 2024

Entering the job search as a baby boomer is becoming more and more common. But what do you do when you already feel stigmatized because of your age, you need a new source of income, and you haven’t breached the world of resumes and interviews in decades?  Read on for our best tips!

“Okay, Boomer.” The phrase is enough to send anger pulsing down a baby boomer’s spine, yet elicit a chuckle from the younger generation. Since its emergence in the lexicon of internet slang in 2019, “Okay, Boomer” has underscored the dismissive, argumentative, and often heated nature between generations.

Yet the difference in attitudes, politics, and the overall outlook of the future may have to be put on hold in the near future. In 2020, the baby-boom generation, or those born between 1946 and 1964, was set to become the fastest-growing age range in the workforce, growing from about 12% of the total to over 20% according to a Glassdoor study.

What was once considered a time to consider retirement or build wealth at the highest wages possible (mid-to-late 50s and up) has been extended into a baby boomer job search for a variety of reasons. Though some have determined they cannot live on Social Security and pensions alone due to soaring housing and medical costs, other workers in the baby-boom generation are staying on the job simply for fulfillment. 

Whether continuing their career out of necessity or enjoyment, the baby-boom generation still has a problem they can’t shake: a common misconception that they can’t compete against a younger, more technophile generation. 

But as the old adage goes: age is just a number.

As boomers continue to age, their experience and wisdom about a particular job or industry make them attractive candidates for remote work. Coupled with the necessity for competitive advantage and the benefits of age-based diversity, companies also find a breadth of ages an attractive hiring strategy. As a result, the role of baby boomers in the professional world should continue to soar. So be bold and be courageous. Now’s the time for the baby-boom generation to leave their professional mark.

Adjusting Your Mentality in Your Job Search as a Baby Boomer

The baby-boom generation isn’t averse to finding a job or going to interviews. But in most instances, they’re less likely to have recent job search and interviewing experience. Still, even with the lack of interviewing and job searching prowess, these individuals must first adjust their mindset and mentality. This obstacle stems not only from changes in generational thinking but also from a dynamic job market that may require some baby boomers to rethink their approach. 

The fear and doubt associated with such alterations are often the most daunting to overcome for boomers, but with a few tips, you can present a mindset that’s appealing and attractive to employers. And that includes instances when it’s your first job search ever, your initial remote job search, or your first new position since the Clinton administration.

Don’t Let the Younger Generation Deter You or Scare You

There’s a stark contrast between the baby-boom generation and millennials with respect to their reasons for getting a job. According to a survey by The Atlantic, 64% of baby boomers put their earnings and learning new skills above all in a job, while 57% of millennials care more about enjoying their job or make a societal difference.

This statistic doesn’t seem all that alarming at first glance; just a change in generational opinion. However, baby boomers often point to the lack of monetary motivation as the root of millennial laziness and complacency. But millennials don’t have the same outlook.

Money is certainly an important part of the millennial job equation, but baby boomers shouldn’t see their ability to take monetary concessions in lieu of free time as a threat or a deterrent from applying. Instead, they should embrace it.

Just like having coworkers of different ethnic, racial, or national backgrounds, different generations can offer you another viewpoint. By understanding this mindset even before your baby boomer job search, you can find ways to relate to interviewers and coworkers.

Break with Your Normal Routine

Because of the dependency on hierarchy and departmentalization, many baby boomers are creatures of habit. They tend to follow the same routine day-in and day-out with little variance or volatility. Younger generations are far different. Typically, they employ a go-with-the-flow mentality that provides flexibility. This continues to become the norm among the younger generation.

Therefore, baby boomers should have an openness to varying or nontraditional scheduling in the workplace. By accepting this idea in your baby boomer job search, you present yourself as more relaxed, accepting, and ready to do whatever needs to be done for the common goals of the company.

Embrace Change in Your Job Search, Baby Boomer

In the minds of Gen Xers and millennials, baby boomers constitute a narrow-minded subsection of the population. These older individuals are against change no matter what the capacity. Yet times, they are a-changin’. According to a 2019 survey from Virtual Vocations, baby boomers, Gen Xers, and millennials all gravitate toward remote work — an idea once thought foreign by older generations.

If you’re a person who hasn’t included a baby boomer job search in the remote world because of your prior experience, now is the time to embrace change. Changing your overall perspective on work, goals, and how to finish a project will open up a new world of possibilities. Hopefully, the other generations and your coworkers will notice your atypical approach.

Open Yourself to New Skills

Perhaps the most important thing you can do in your baby boomer job search is to hone some modern skills that you may have only briefly used in the past. First and foremost, learn basic computer proficiency. You should know how to send emails, sign into accounts, and navigate the online workspaces necessary to complete your job.

Yet you shouldn’t stop there. Opening yourself to new skills or learning some in your free time can make your job profile all the more attractive when coupled with your experience. In a remote role, the importance of computer skills and proficiency with online work platforms (Trello, Asana, Slack, etc.) can help you collaborate with coworkers and build a resume that gets noticed.

Trade Freedom and Flexibility for Money

Financial instability vaults many baby boomers back into the workforce or prolongs their careers. However, that doesn’t mean the dollar should rule your baby boomer job search. Some remote workers in the baby-boomer generation often cite freedom and flexibility as the greatest trade-offs that were unavailable when they were younger. So before you look solely at job salaries and how you can negotiate your salary at an interview, think about the work-life balance and freedom that only a remote job can bring. You might be pleasantly surprised by the prospect.

Remote Job Search Tips for Baby Boomers

The baby boomer job search — especially in the remote world — can bring an entirely new set of challenges over traditional job hunts. Technological qualifications are mandatory for nearly every position just to communicate. Teleconferencing and video platform knowledge are essential. Even basic knowledge of Google Suite or Microsoft Office is often preferred over other types of qualifications.

Learn the Tech Side of Remote Work

The upside of this required knowledge is that it will only take you a few weeks or months to learn the basics, depending on your level or lack of technological expertise. But once you’ve got a handle on Skype, Slack, Trello, Google Suite, and a few other platforms, you can pack your resume with tangible skills your employer or client will adore.

Most remote jobs also require a basic level of proficiency even to apply to a position. Often, you’ll have to upload a PDF of your resume and a cover letter. Without the ability to construct these documents, you’re at a standstill. The skills you may need for a job will fluctuate depending on the role, but you can focus on these as a general starting point:

  • Basic understanding of Google Suite (docs, spreadsheets, etc.)
  • Alternatively, general knowledge of Microsoft Office, including PowerPoint
  • Sending emails
  • File formats commonly used in business
  • Industry-specific software basics

If you aren’t sure where to find the information you need, try these websites:

Use a Reputable Job Search Board as a Baby Boomer

Because many baby boomers aren’t as well-versed in technology as younger generations, falling for fake job postings is more commonplace than you might think. While the stereotypical baby boomer skepticism may enable you to sift through some scams, you can avoid the situation altogether by using a reputable online job board such as Virtual Vocations. Our job board offers 100% vetted job postings that are easily sorted by remote location, job type, and industry. By using job boards such as ours, you can avoid unsavory situations and find your best possible chance for employment.

Consider Applying to Jobs Partially Outside Your Comfort Zone/Expertise

As a baby boomer, you probably have decades of experience and leadership. However, these skills are often overlooked due to ageism. This unsightly aspect of our society is still highly prevalent in the workplace, according to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. In 2018, 60% of workers 45 and over reported some form of ageism, while 90% of workers in the same age range agreed that ageism was commonplace.

This shocking statistic doesn’t bode well for everyone.

However, you shouldn’t hang your hat solely on your prior experience nor should you refuse to consider jobs below your normal pay grade or experience level. Modern companies often want to appear youthful in appearance and usher in a new era of thought. Even so, the top companies still understand the importance of credibility and varying perspectives. Because of this, you should always expand your job search rather than narrowing it. You just might find that a slight pay cut or a subtle push outside your comfort zone makes your job all the more enjoyable.

Remote Job Search: Interview Tips for Baby Boomers

Interviews are tough. That concept doesn’t change regardless of your age. But the longer your hiatus from the interview process, the more likely you’re going to need to knock the rust off. Here are a few hacks and tips that can improve your chances of wowing your interviewer.

Anticipate the Tough Questions

You might already know that traditional questions that have been around for decades.

Where do you see yourself in X years? Why did you leave your last job? Why are you interested in the role?

Chances are, as a baby boomer, you have these questions locked down and have done enough research about the company to tackle any questions about your potential role and the company itself.

Nevertheless, it’s the tough, unfamiliar questions that may blindside you. The best remedy is anticipation. Questions about technology, overqualification, and how you plan to improve despite your qualifications are almost sure to come up. To improve your employment chances, expect these questions, don’t get offended, and provide calculated answers that improve your personal brand.

Push the Intangibles

Many of the best and brightest young workers — especially millennials — have begun to value their free time over career.   If they don’t put their outside life before their career, most at least value the idea of taking breaks when necessary. That’s where the baby-boom generation can leverage their experience and work ethic. While their younger counterparts are leaving early for happy hour, recovering from said happy hour, going to an out-of-town sporting event, or taking care of their family, baby boomers let fewer things come before the job.

Baby boomers often have an empty nest, their party years are behind them, and have fewer daily responsibilities than 20-and-30-somethings. If this describes you, use these intangibles to intrigue your employer and demonstrate how you can work without hindrances. At the remote level, this is one of the most coveted skills an employer can hope for.

Breaking Barriers in Baby Boomer Job Hunts

Age is just a number. Even if you believe that saying is a bit cliché, applying the idea to your baby boomer job search will open up a world of opportunity. Regardless of whether you’re 60, 70, or older, you have the skills and experience companies need to succeed. So relive the best years of your career or bring another chapter of glory to your professional life. The positive relationship you build with different generations may just unveil the next and most interesting part of your career story yet.

Navigate Your Job Search with Expertise: Avoid Ageism with Virtual Vocations

Ready to redefine your professional journey free from the constraints of ageism? Connect with Virtual Vocations’ expert career coaches today. Our specialists are dedicated to helping baby boomers like you craft a job search strategy that highlights your invaluable experience and aligns with your career goals. Don’t let age be a barrier to your next great opportunity — let’s unveil the potential together!

Are you a baby boomer undergoing a remote job search? Connect with Virtual Vocations on Facebook, X (formerly known as Twitter), LinkedIn, Instagram, and YouTube to share your thoughts and tips. We’d love to hear from you!

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