It's National Employ Older Workers Week, an annual event sponsored by the Department of Labor during the last full week of September. The week is set aside to recognize the vital contributions of older workers in the workforce, and can serve as a rallying point for workers in their 50s and 60s who feel the squeeze of joblessness, a changing economic landscape, and employers' tendency—real or perceived—to opt for youth when it's time to hire.
In a few years, though, being 50- or 60-something may not be as big an issue. The federal government says that by 2018, 43% of Americans 55 and older will be employed, up from 39% in 2008. This is especially good news for those whose retirement portfolios failed to grow enough—if at all—during the recession.
If you've passed your 55th birthday and are now looking for work, you'll need to focus on three things:
How your skills translate into today's work. How can you help an employer today? Show how you've helped previous employers make money, save money, or improve their processes, and translate that into how you might do the same for a new employer.
A love of learning. Even if you haven't been in a classroom for decades, take an interest in learning new technologies, especially social media and the computer programs that just about every employer uses today.
Putting your enthusiasm on display. If you're excited about what you and your company do, don't be afraid to show it, because it can rub off on others.
Need more job search advice? Check out Job Tips for 50+ Workers from the AARP. Also, learn about a federal program that can help place lower-income workers 55 and older in community-service jobs.
If you're over 55, what challenges do you face in today's job market? Tell us in a comment below.
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