Aging Leadership: 6 Tips for Finding a Hospitality Job after the Age of 50

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, almost forty percent of Americans aged 55 and older are active in today’s workforce. Yet this demographic consistently finds itself up against roadblocks when seeking new opportunities, particularly in the hospitality industry. Young hiring managers often hold misguided notions that older candidates can have too much experience, not as much energy, or will be difficult to work with. How can this passionate and knowledgeable cohort of hospitality professionals find success in their job hunt? Consider these five tips from our recruiters:

  • Don’t Fixate on Your Age
  • Research Company Cultures
  • Demonstrate Tech Fluency
  • Simplify Your Resume
  • Use Your Network of Hospitality Professionals
  • Start Your Search Now

Don’t Fixate on Your Age

It may be tempting to address your age immediately in an interview or try to downplay it with some light humor. However, calling attention to your age or the interviewer’s comparative age can distract from your valuable skills and qualifications. Show don’t tell your interviewer about the confidence and wisdom gained during your career. Focus your conversation on what excites you about your career’s future, and how you can be an asset to the potential company.

Research Company Cultures

Save yourself the time and energy of barking up the wrong tree and research a company before applying. Check sites like Glassdoor to learn about company cultures and avoid those prone to unfair hiring practices. Look at what types of employees their company website showcases. Asking about what benefits and training a company provides can also clue you into whether a workplace supports older hires.

Demonstrate Tech Fluency

Some hiring managers have a tough time looking past the stereotype that older candidates lack the technological fluency needed for front-line hospitality leadership. However, resist the temptation to over-emphasize your tech skills during the interview. Instead, opt for more subtle cues and establish an effortlessly modern online presence. Update your LinkedIn and other social media accounts (we have a helpful guide for maintaining a professional social media presence). If your email has a Hotmail or AOL domain, update it to a more modern email server like Gmail. Focus your resume skills section on software relevant to the specific position you are applying to.

Simplify Your Resume

A mature hospitality professional will have accrued a lengthy list of experiences and achievements. Avoid trying to squeeze it all onto your resume and opt to limit your experience section to the last ten to fifteen years. Take time to tailor your resume, including only information relevant to the company you apply to (see our handy guide on tailoring your resume here). Education dates are generally not needed, so breathe easy eliminating graduation dates you feel may age you.

Use Your Network of Hospitality Professionals

Your years of experience in the hospitality industry provide you with an invaluable resource: a deep professional network. Whether you’ve already begun applying for positions or are newly considering a change, reach out to peers and those you have mentored to get introductions. Make it easy for them to help you and let them know what opportunities you are looking for. Having colleagues vouch for your professionalism can go a long way in overcoming many hiring challenges that older candidates face.

Work with Experienced Hospitality Recruiters

Jump-start your job search the moment you suspect it is time for a change. A great place to start is with industry-specific job boards and recruitment agencies.
Horizon Hospitality’s job board is updated almost daily with leadership opportunities at client companies nationwide. Start your search here.

Don’t see an opportunity that fits? Submit your resume here to be considered for future opportunities or confidential searches not listed.


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