Finding Part-Time Work When You’re 50+

by Gary Foreman

Finding a Part Time Job when You're 50+ photo

Searching for a part-time job when you’re over 50 is a bit different than when you searched for your very first part-time job. Take these steps to find the right part-time job for you at this stage of life. 

Most of us probably began our work career with a part-time job. After school at the local drive-in or gas station. I worked both. Now, 40 or 50 years later we’re looking for a part-time job again.

In many ways the job search is the same. But in some important ways, looking for a part-time job when you’re 50+ will be a different experience for you.

Many Retirees Work Part-Time

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 56% of people aged 60-64 work at least part-time. And over 32% of those aged 65-69 are still working.

Some work because they need to. It’s estimated that, on average, Social Security only replaces 40% of pre-retirement income. (source: Social Security Administration) A few hundred dollars each month makes retirement income go much further.

Others work just to keep active. They enjoy the work and are happy to get out a few days each week. In either case, a part-time job could be the answer.

Decide What Part-Time Job You Want

One thing hasn’t changed. Like most job hunts, you need to start by deciding what type of job you desire.

You may simply want to work a few hours as a greeter at Walmart or bag at your local grocer. Or you might want something more flexible. Something where you can work as much or as little as you want. Or maybe you want to leverage your knowledge as a part-time consultant.

Once you have a goal in mind, tailor your preparations to that end. If you’re looking for something that requires specific professional knowledge, you’ll probably need to update your resume and prepare your Linked In profile.

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Expect Some Tech

The last time you were job hunting the game was different. In the past you sent or delivered your resume to the personnel manager. If you knew someone with influence, you used that influence to get your resume in front of a decision maker. Hopefully you could leverage that into an interview and ultimately the job.

Today’s job hunt is different. Technology has totally changed the process. The personnel manager doesn’t personally review stacks of resumes. In fact, there’s a good chance that the entire personnel function has been outsourced to a company specializing in human resources.

If you need to submit a resume, it’ll be a digital document and not a printed one. Applications are mostly online and interviews are often virtual. A software program will determine if your application or resume deserves a personal review.

You’ll want to tailor your resume so that it’s found digitally. That may mean including certain words or phrases that related to the job you desire. Especially in describing your past work experience. Remember that the first person to scan your resume isn’t a person at all. It’s a computer doing a search for potential candidates for a job.

For some jobs, you may be asked to take an online personality test. And don’t be surprised if they check out your social media presence before offering you a job.

How to Make Your Age Work for You

If you’re over 50, you’ve either experienced or know someone who has experienced age discrimination in a job hunt. It’s tempting to complain that young hiring managers don’t realize what we can bring to the workplace. But rather than complain, why not display the skills that they’re seeking?

Employers are looking for people who can communicate clearly, solve problems, manage their time, follow instructions and work well with others. Often they complain that younger workers lack those skills. Most of us have learned how to do these things during our long work histories. Make that clear in your resume, application and interviews.  

Another problem employers face is finding employees that will predictably show up for work. Employees show up for work late if they come in at all. And many take frequent ‘personal days’ regardless of how that impacts their employer. Emphasize your dependability and ability to perform as expected.

Highlight Your Skill Set

Every job requires a certain set of skills. Some more difficult and specialized than others. Having a history and experience with that skill set gives you an advantage.

Many younger employees are only familiar with computer simulations and online solutions. Chances are that you’ve experienced answers in the pre-computer days and learned how to apply modern computer tools. That makes it much more likely that you’ll spot problems with a software generated answer that’s incorrect. You’ll want to highlight the fact that you bring a range of solutions to a work problem.

Make Part-Time Status Work for You

Many employers prefer not to add to their full-time staff. For various reasons. Full-time employees generally receive more fringe benefits. They also can be costly if the company chooses to let some of them go.

The fact that you’re looking for part-time employment works to your advantage. And, if you’re on Medicare and/or collecting Social Security, remind the interviewer that you’re not looking for all the fringe benefits a younger applicant desires. 

Avoid the Part-Time Earning Trap

If you’ve started collecting Social Security, be aware of the earnings limitation that applies if you’re less than ‘full retirement age’. The limit is indexed to inflation. In 2023, the limit on earned income is $21,240 ($1,770 per month). If you haven’t reached full retirement age and earn more than $21,240, your Social Security benefits will be reduced $1 for each $2 you’re over the limit.

Be Enthusiastic!

One great way to separate yourself from other applicants is to be enthusiastic during the application/interview process. Not only will you dispel the idea that the mature employee lacks energy, you’ll also draw a comparison to younger employees that are too lackadaisical in their work.

Most employers have too many employees that have a ‘meh’ attitude when it comes to work. Their job is not an important part of their life. You’ve developed a great work ethic and know that a little enthusiasm makes any job more enjoyable. Now is the time to put that knowledge to work. 

Put Perseverance to Work for You

If you’re like most of us, your work life has been a series of ups and downs. Some successes and some failures. And you’ve survived them all by pressing onward even when times were tough. You may need to do that now. Finding the part-time job you want might not be easy. In fact, it could be hard. But it wouldn’t be the first time that you dealt with something that was hard to do. No reason that you can’t do it again!

Reviewed March 2023

About the Author

Gary Foreman is a former financial planner and purchasing manager who founded The Dollar website and newsletters in 1996. He's the author of How to Conquer Debt No Matter How Much You Have and he's been featured in MSN Money, Yahoo Finance, Fox Business, The Nightly Business Report, US News Money, and

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