Getting older and getting back into the game.
Let’s face it; none of us are getting any younger. But the topsy-turvy nature of the current economy has left more of an indelible mark on members of the baby boomer generation than any other group.
Nearly one-third of the nation’s workforce is comprised of people born during the boom period of 1946-1964. Labor experts originally predicted that a huge segment of this group would be preparing to enter retirement by 2014, leaving huge shortages of skilled workers en mass.
Instead, the economic crunch has forced many older workers to abort plans to retire. After seeing their nest egg dwindle in the past 18 months to less than 50 percent of their investment, some workers see no viable option but to continue punching the proverbial work clock each day hoping the current economic situation improves.
From Bad to Worse
It is one thing to be a mature worker forced to extend a career because of economic need. It is even worse to be faced with unemployment, or to struggle through imprudent hiring practices levied against older job seekers by some employers.
Unemployment statistics indicate that the unemployment rate for workers 55 and older is on a continual upswing, rising to 6.7 percent through June 2009. Older workers can count on staying unemployed longer than their younger counterparts. Legal pundits claim that age bias in the workplace is difficult to prove – the most challenging form of discrimination.
Tips for a Positive Edge
You don’t want your résumé to “age you out of the game”. It is recommended, and appropriate to shorten your work history on your résumé if you make sure to include relevant work experience and avoid employment gaps. You can include additional career highlights and accomplishment s in a cover letter.
Do your homework to learn what the company’s pay scale is for your target position, and make sure that range is acceptable to you before you ask for the job. Also, demonstrate flexibility by applying for work schedules that younger employees with family commitments might not be able to fill. Poor health and chronic ailments often occur as the years slip by. Impress upon an employer that you have the stamina and energy to do the job.
Keep current on computer and electronic technology used in the workplace. Finally, focus on researching companies that have built a reputation of hiring mature workers and look for networking groups that cater to older job seekers. These tips can help you to keep a positive edge as you move forward in your job search.
From Better to Best
Contrary to popular belief, not all employers overlook the essential benefits of experience-rich workers. Some employers see your experience and skills as a means of elevating the overall quality of their workforce.
Former baseball great Satchel Paige, who made his major league debut at age 42, once said, “’Age is a question of mind over matter. If you don’t mind, it doesn’t matter.’” Don’t be afraid to draw upon the experiences that have gotten you this far. And always remember to stay focused on your strengths. Your past accomplishments and a rock-steady work ethic will get you back into the game and improve your batting average.
Good luck and keep your head in the game.