There are lots of ways to find jobs. We've listed the most common approaches and tools below. SER strongly recommends that you not limit yourself to one or two tools or approaches.
For most seniors, finding a job involves applying for lots of jobs and recognizing that you'll be invited to an interview in only a small percentage of cases. So, finding as many potential jobs to which you can apply is critical to a senior's successful job search.
Here's a list of tools and approaches to finding job openings. This list is by no means exhaustive; if you find another good source of job openings, please let us know about it by clicking on the "Suggest Additional Job Search Resources" button at the bottom of the page.
Job Search Sites. There are dozens, perhaps hundreds, of job search sites. Some have wide geographic and job-type scopes. Others are more localized or focus on specific industries or professions. Of the national, wide scope sites, SER has found Indeed.com to be especially useful and easy to navigate. It's the job search site that we use to teach online job searching techniques. Our home page has a tool that you can use to search for jobs on Indeed. We've also compiled a list of other job search sites to get you started.
Help Wanted Ads. This category covers a lot of ground. There are traditional help-want ads in many newspapers. Many newspapers, including the Washington Post, have more extensive online help wanted ads. SER has found that CraigsList is a good tool, especially for those seeking part-time employment. And, be sure to check out SER's JobList - jobs posted by employers who have pledged to actively consider candidates age 50 and over.
Trade and Professional Associations. if you're looking for a job in a specific industry or profession, check to see if the publication of the relevant trade or professional associations carries job advertisements.
Government Jobs. The best place to look for government jobs is the employment page of the entity where you'd like to work. We've compiled a list of government job pages for the Washington, DC, metropolitan area to speed up your search.
Company/Organization Web Sites. If there are companies or organizations where you'd like to work, check their web sites and look for "employment" or "career" links. Some companies and organizations will have more jobs listed than you'll find using job search sites.
Networking. This can be as simple as talking to friends and colleagues and letting them know that you're looking for a job. Or, many folks have found social networking tools, especially LinkedIn, to be helpful. Many employers and recruiters actively search for job candidates on LinkedIn, so having a good profile there can help employers find you. We've compiled a list of online articles that provide advice on using LinkedIn.
Job Fairs. Job fairs can be a useful way to get your resume seen by recruiters and also give you opportunities to work on your "elevator speech." [Definition] If you'd like to try this approach, just do an Internet search for "job fair northern Virginia" (or where ever you want to attend). For several years, there've been "50+ Employment Expos" held in Northern Virginia and Montgomery County, MD, usually in May and June.
Temp Agencies. Of course, working for a temp agency means you have found a job. But temping can also lead to a permanent job. Many companies use temp agencies as a way to audition potential employees and, if the employer likes your performance, you may be hired in a permanent position. But, even if that doesn't work out, you at least have some additional recent experience on your resume.
Volunteering. Working as a volunteer doesn't necessarily lead to a job. But working as a volunteer, especially if it involves working on a regular basis doing things related to the kind of job you're searching for, can strengthen your resume and avoid significant gaps in your work history.
While job searches take up a lot of time, it's important to stay busy. Having large gaps in your employment history makes your job search more difficult.
SER advises that you volunteer, take classes, especially those that bolster skills related to the type of jobs you're seeking, take temporary jobs, etc. Having to explain to an interviewer that you've been exclusively job hunting (or just sitting around) for the past year does not enhance your chances of finding a job; many employers interpret large gaps in employment as indicating a lack of initiative or employability.
Your "elevator speech" is a short - less than a minute - summary of your qualifications for a position. Like your resume and interview strategy, your elevator speech needs to be tailored for each job for which you're applying or, at a job fair, for each employer that you talk to.