Job searching for someone who's been out of the loop since 2007.
May 30, 2022 4:03 AM   Subscribe

I'm in my mid-fifties and have had the same job for the last 15 years, but now I need to find a new one. The problem is I have no idea about even the most basic elements of job hunting anymore given all the changes that have happened during the last decade and a half. I could, I think, find a job doing what I'm doing now, night shift hotel work, or other hotel gigs, but I really need a change. My question is how does one find jobs nowadays and what are the basic expectations in applying and interviewing and so on? I mean what is the norm for clothing for interviews now, what are the best methods for finding something in a new field and what is the process like? Are smartphones expected as a given or are zoom meetings largely standard now?

I'm nervous about all of it since my resources are slim and I'll need to find one in a new city in fairly short order and don't want to end up doing the same thing if I can avoid it. I don't need anything fancy, just would prefer minimal public interaction and for the job to be stable with health insurance and enough to pay rent. Is that a difficult thing to find anymore?
posted by gusottertrout to Work & Money (11 answers total) 20 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: LinkedIn and Indeed have pretty much all the job listings for stable jobs with benefits. Craigslist has lots of other listings, and some stable + benefit listings too.

Some things have not changed:

- you still need an updated standard resume

- competence in Excel and PowerPoint are hugely valued no matter what

- unless a job is manual labor, for interviews wear a dress shirt/blouse and suit jacket/blazer; if it's a tech job and you're a dude ask the recruiter whether or not to a wear a tie (all kinds of emotions and politics tied up in ties!)

- employers want people happy to be in the office 5 days a week. Even if the job is hybrid or WFH now, convey that you are happy to be in the office all the time or whatever fraction of the time works for the employer. Candidates who insist on 100% WFH or hybrid are only getting jobs because of the tightness of the job market but they'll be first to be fired come the recession.

Some things have changed:

- your LinkedIn page is critical. Get a good one; get some help with a good one if you need. Have at least 50 connections.

- the job market is great for candidates- be optimistic

- the market is much better for people in their mid-50s than it was 15 years ago (or ever, as far as I know). This means your resume doesn't have to try to fake out that you're younger, or you have to avoid interview topics that "date" you, or get cosmetic surgery before you start to interview (which was seriously a thing for people in their mid-50s). However, you still will benefit from not seeming "old" - hairstyle, glasses, make-up - or inflexible or hard to supervise by a boss who might be 20 years younger than you

- first round interviews are almost always online now; you won't have to go in person unless they already like you
posted by MattD at 6:09 AM on May 30, 2022 [8 favorites]

Best answer: For many fields, but not all, it's an employee's market.

I started a new remote white-collar job in January. The interviews were video calls over Teams, which I took on my laptop. Whether I had a smartphone was never relevant.

I think the main generalist job board these days is It lets you search and filter a lot of ways. But don't believe its salary estimates.

Some jobs are also listed on Craigslist, but I haven't used that for that purpose. This is all assuming that you're in the USA.

It might help people give you better advice if you told us more about your situation ... such as location, skills, interests ...
posted by NotLost at 6:10 AM on May 30, 2022 [4 favorites]

Keep in mind that certain things vary by occupation and industry. For example, I haven't needed a Powerpoint since I was in school. And my LinkedIn contacts were from more than 10 years ago.
posted by NotLost at 6:13 AM on May 30, 2022 [2 favorites]

Best answer: The blog Ask a Manager is a useful read for getting a sense of the mores and informal expectations of the work world these days, including around resumes, hiring, and interviews.
posted by minervous at 6:31 AM on May 30, 2022 [17 favorites]

Response by poster: My formal skills, other than having worked in the Home Mortgage industry back in the earlyh 2000s, are all hotel related, but that includes pretty much all aspects of the industry, accounts payable, receivable, hiring, training, and all the assorted public and security issues that come with the gig. It'd roughly be the equivalent to assistant GM, from the experience, but the hours and pay won't really show that, even though the owner would be happy to vouch for it, or so he says. I'm uncertain how that might be seen as translating to other jobs without the specific out of industry qualifications.
posted by gusottertrout at 6:34 AM on May 30, 2022

Best answer: Here is a source to help research different jobs titles and info:

It's not going to help you find a job. It can just help you figure out what types of jobs to look for.
posted by NotLost at 6:37 AM on May 30, 2022 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Congratulations on starting this new adventure! It takes courage but that bravery and hard work will surely pay off. I'm in a different field so my advice is more general. I worked at the same job for 12 years, then took a 1.5 year sabbatical to study abroad as an adult (then COVID happened, eeek!) I have zero regrets other than maybe to have made the change a few years earlier.

A few things to consider:

- get a friend who's very current in the job market to review your resume. I totally overhauled mine thanks to the brutal honesty. I hate resumes and applications but now it's SO EASY.

- think of whom to ask to be a reference. We can help you brainstorm if you're unsure. It could be someone who values your work and moved on themselves a few years ago. It could be from outside work, too, say at a volunteer gig.

- in cover letters, resumes, and interviews, highlight both your positive attitude as a team player and experienced mentor. Younger millennials and Gen Z tend to appreciate and even admire older colleagues who treat them as competent equals while also being available for professional advice when asked.

- your 15 years with the same company can be seen/presented as a plus: you are loyal and committed and successful at what you do. Eventually it will just be a footnote but for now it's finding a balance of presenting your past positively and briefly while also showing you're open to the future.

- have a good reason for the change. It can be vague and trite but a convincing go-to, in addition to the reasons you like the company: you always dreamed of living in new city and COVID gave you the push, you wanted to be closer to friends and family, etc. etc. My public goal was the latter, as well as the fact that I wanted to teach in a place that's more accepting of queer people. Before the recent Florida and Texas laws, a lot of straight people didn't understand this but most progressive ones certainly do now!

- think of a good way to phrase the minimal contact bit, perhaps "I appreciate building a trusting relationship with supervisors where there's good communication, then independent work with occasional check-ins." (This phrasing is not my strong point but you get what I mean!)

I wish you luck! Please dream big and don't be afraid to negotiate or walk away from something that doesn't seem right. I love my new job -- I actually had a short-term gig, then was able to get an even-better long-term one. I appreciate the perspective and experience my past has given me as well as the joy and ease my new one does. Things will be good for you!!
posted by smorgasbord at 10:34 AM on May 30, 2022 [5 favorites]

Response by poster: Thanks for all the advice and links. They're very helpful, but I guess the difficulty is more in just trying to understand the social structure of work environments today and the expectations around them since that is an area which doesn't come naturally to me.

I'm comfortable in one on one situations, so an interview itself doesn't worry me much, more just all that surrounds work that goes unspoken for assuming it's implicitly understood or common enough. I mean things like having contacts or friends in the job market or personal references that have any connection to office work are just not things I have.

I'm confident enough I can handle a variety of jobs if I could get them and was given sufficient rules over what was expected, but I'm not sure how to sell that without lying or if that's even possible given what seems to be the norms around ambition, careers, and interpersonal understanding of work outside the hotel industry which is mostly young people and ownership/management. These last few years have been brutal and I'm really burned out on that and am hoping to find something new if I can figure out and find a culture that makes sense for me. Sorry this is all kind of vague, but a hurdle in asking questions is in knowing what it is you need to ask and I'm not sure I do.
posted by gusottertrout at 10:45 PM on May 30, 2022

Best answer: It's been a while for me and wondering where to start and I found watching YouTube channels like this helpful, since he covers a variety of topics regarding job hunting.
posted by deinemutti at 3:42 AM on May 31, 2022 [2 favorites]

Best answer: Your follow-up makes me wonder if you might have autism (as I am) or otherwise be neuro-divergent.

In case these would be helpful:
* Auticon is a company composed of mostly autistic people.
* Lists have been compiled online of companies that are said to be friendly to autistic people.

I don't have any particular knowledge of any of these companies.
posted by NotLost at 6:27 AM on May 31, 2022 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Your follow-up makes me wonder if you might have autism (as I am) or otherwise be neuro-divergent.

That indeed is likely the case, though not officially diagnosed. I generally prefer not to reference it for a variety of reasons but it probably would have helped here. Thanks for catching that and those links.
posted by gusottertrout at 6:53 AM on May 31, 2022

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