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Wednesday, June 24, 2009

10 Great Tips For An Older Worker's Job Hunt (pt. II)

5 Stress your adaptability — and truly be adaptable. A big stereotype against older workers is that they're not willing or able to adapt to new technologies and new ways of doing things. Depending on your industry, give employers examples of how you've stayed current and how you plan to keep doing so.

6 Upgrade your job skills if necessary. You may be able to find free or low-cost computer classes offered at libraries, churches and continuing education centers. Also check with local colleges and universities about extension programs that offer courses for professional development, and look into classes offered through community colleges, accredited online degree programs and the New Horizons Computer Learning Center (www.newhorizons.com).

7 Change careers if you must. Let's face it: Your entire industry may be imploding on you. So, for instance, if you've worked in finance for years, do you know of any former colleagues who made the leap to positions that allow them to work with numbers for different kinds of employers? Or if you're thinking about transitioning out of real estate, can you brainstorm other areas where you could apply your sales and negotiation skills?

Check out our "New Career Marketplace" for help

8 Check industry data yourself. Especially if you need to change career fields, study occupational data so you can find out which sectors are hiring right now. The Bureau of Labor Statistics' Occupational Outlook Handbook (www.bls.gov/OCO/) can help you learn about job sectors that may be crying out for your specific skills. CareerBuilder.com (www.careerbuilder.com) also publishes information about who's hiring in its "Advice & Resources" section.

9 Stay upbeat. Negative thinking and speaking can hurt your job search. For instance, if you're an older worker, are you viewing yourself as experienced and knowledgeable, or just old? Most employers want to hire energetic, positive people. To stay positive, remember how much you have to offer. Stay focused and confident about the ways you can help employers succeed.

10 Think about consulting opportunities. If you've been spinning your wheels for far too long trying to find a full-time job, remember that you can always make yourself available as a consultant or contractor. Companies may be reluctant to hire you permanently in this economy, but they may gladly tap your expertise for projects where they could really use your help.

Click here to read part 1 of this article

Laura T. Coffey can be reached at laura@ tentips.org.
Sources: the AARP, About.com, Women for Hire


  1. How do you handle the automated screening systems, like Taleo, that require you to complete a chronological work history, including dates. Having lost two consecutive jobs recently due to the economy, my recent history appears less than stable. Any advice?

  2. Networking is most important. Seek events where there aren't just people in search of a job.

    When networking at an event, hand out business cards not resumes.

    Offer something to your contacts - remember networking is What's In It For Us not What's In It For Me.

  3. I've found that it depends a lot on what part of the country you're in. I'm from Cincinnati and moved to New York City in 1995. In addition to the job market being very good in those days, I was exactly in the age range that seems to get the most offers, 30-35. Laid off at 37 and having earned more than six figures, and with the economy going into a slump, the opportunities seemed to dry up pretty quickly. I resisted moving back to Cincinnati reasoning that unemployment was higher in Ohio than New York. I finally had to move back because there was absolutely NOTHING happening for me in NYC. Upon moving back to Cincinnati, I quickly and easily found work and noticed that there are a lot more people in my age range (late 40's) who are still gainfully employed. Go where the opportunities are for people in your age group. That's what worked for me. As for the resume, leave off dates of education and leave out, completely, any work from longer than 15 years ago. Chances are, whatever technologies and procedures you were using in that job are now obsolete.

  4. Greg, good sound advice. Sometimes moving is part of the solution . For many it is difficult after 20 plus years of having developed deep roots within the community.

  5. This article doesn't help anyone because most jobs don't take paper resumes any longer. You have to fill out 100's of online resumes which require dates. This might have worked in the 80's and even part of the 90's but today, forget it. You're going to have to give the dates in chronological order whether you like it or not.


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