Harsh Realities for Seasoned Job Seekers and How to Overcome Them

Olivia Clifford |

As technology and innovation become the forefront of importance for most jobs, older employees and job seekers are gradually becoming more obsolete. In May 2013, it was found that the median length of unemployment for those who were 55 years or older was around 54.2 weeks. This was strikingly higher then the 2008 report that demonstrates an average unemployment time of 35.9 weeks. Many older job seekers experience the catch 22 of starting over. They are discriminated against for being more seasoned and over qualified for their jobs, but they are too inexperienced in other fields limiting their ability for a career change. 

Discrimination is a major reason that many of older job seekers are struggling. According to AARP around 64 percent of workers between the age of 45-74 said that at some point in time they have experienced discrimination based on their age and another 20 percent said that they passed up a job because of it. Fighting the discrimination can sometimes make matters even worse for older employees. Many when let go from their current positions are offered very generous severance packages in exchange for signing away their rights to sue for age discrimination. Others, who do proceed and sue, run the risk of being black listed by other companies making their job search even harder. 

There are some ways that job seekers can use their age to enhance their positioning and chances of being hired such as marketing yourself better or working in senior friendly industries. Many job seekers best options is to use their age as an asset. Changing the focus from their age and the extensive amount of years that they have worked to the skills and knowledge that they have learned can help better position seasoned job seekers. With small tweaks such as limiting the years you have worked only to the most recent, and changing a cover letter to display all the talents and skills sets that one many have, can give older job seekers a better presentation. Another tactic that can be helpful is going back and using old network connections that have been established over the years as well as making sure that they are up to date on the use of technology and terminology. 

There are many fields that are considered senior friendly, which may be a good option for those seasoned workers looking to change careers. The retail market tends to be very senior friendly, though for some working on the floor of a store may seem as if they are taking a step back career wise. Two other fields that are great to consider are financials and health care, both are very senior friendly due to the importance and influence that seasoned workers have. When people are planning for retirement and looking for the best decisions to make as they age, they tend to feel more comfortable listening to someone who clearly knows the business and has the experience. 

 

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