More retired Americans are un-retiring, and many worry about age discrimination

A ResumeBuilder survey of currently retired Americans found 12% expect to come out of retirement in 2024. The top reasons are inflation and a higher cost of living. Combatting boredom was also cited by some.

Two-thirds of those expecting to re-enter the workforce next year said they fear age bias will affect their job prospects.

To at least get in the door, experts say don’t let your resume make you look outdated.

“I talk to seniors and boomers looking to return, and they show me the same resume they’ve been using for the last 40 years,” said career coach Stacie Haller, chief career advisor at ResumeBuilder.

Haller said there are “simple ways to eliminate ageism in the resume review process.”

“Don’t use an AOL e-mail address. Don’t put your street address on a resume. Pictures don’t belong on a resume,” Haller said.

Older workers are likely proud of their long work history. But keep the resume short, suggests ResumeBuilder. Work experience from 40 years ago is probably largely irrelevant today.

“Talking about exactly what you did that long ago really won’t help you get the job today,” Haller said. “Now we are looking at about the past 15 years of experience.”

Age discrimination is illegal, but it is also hard to prove. Hiring managers can use tools like Internet searches and social media to determine a candidate’s age. Reasons given for rejecting a candidate could be vague.

Overall, 76% of the 62 to 85 year olds surveyed said they are currently retired, 17% said they currently work full-time and 7% said they currently work part-time.

Of those working now, 25% said they had been retired at one point, but are back to work.

A majority of those surveyed who plan to un-retire next year will look for a job in a new industry, while 27% will look for a job in the same industry, and 14% said they would go back to their previous place of employment.

Seniors should be in demand.

“There is a lot to be said these days about the professional skills and adaptability these folks bring to the table,” Haller said. “There are many industries that are looking to hire these folks, because as boomers are retiring, and companies are hurting with the talent pool not being large enough for them.”

ResumeBuilder’s full survey results and commentary is online.

Jeff Clabaugh

Jeff Clabaugh has spent 20 years covering the Washington region's economy and financial markets for WTOP as part of a partnership with the Washington Business Journal, and officially joined the WTOP newsroom staff in January 2016.

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