images-1Q: I’m looking for a job at age 58, after 10 years out of the workforce caring for aged family members. I recently earned a two-year degree in accounting, and I have experience in sales and office administration. Any advice on getting interviews?

—P.M., Poulsbo, Wash.

A: The usual job-seeking rules apply, with a few added twists for a worker at your life stage. Networking is critical, and older workers shouldn’t hesitate to reach back decades to high-school friends and former colleagues, plus their adult kids and their kids’ friends, says Kerry Hannon, Washington, D.C., author of “Great Jobs for Everyone 50+.” Tell them what you want and ask for advice on getting a face-to-face meeting, Ms. Hannon says.

Focus on industries that welcome workers over age 50, including health care, education, government and nonprofits, Ms. Hannon says. A listing of the 50 best employers for older workers can be found via a Web search for “AARP best employers.” Job boards can provide clues on who is hiring. “Never lose sight of the fact that you bring some valued assets, such as loyalty and reliability,” that many younger workers lack, Ms. Hannon says. Many small businesses hire older workers because they can step into a new position without training.

Build the body of your resume on a concise description of current skills and outcomes. Organize it by functional area, such as “office management” or “accounting and bookkeeping,” rather than by date, says Maria Escobar-Bordyn, an executive coach and co-owner of Bridgeway Career and Professional Development, Bellevue, Wash.

Include any skills used in caring for family members, such as budgeting or managing paid home-care workers. Make it easy for employees to see how you would fit by describing outcomes in language that matches the job description, Ms. Escobar-Bordyn says.


Write to Sue Shellenbarger at

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