The challenge of finding a paying job for women over 50 may seem daunting. In an employer's market the competition for jobs becomes fierce, but there are steps you can take that vastly improve your chances for success. Also remember that you have years of hands-on experience and insight that a savvy employer values. A range of resources is available to help you break through the proverbial grey ceiling. In 2006 the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics estimated that 28 per cent of the workforce was over 50 years of age.
- Skill level:
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Things you need
- Want ads or job websites
- Training materials
- Paper and pen
- Community yellow pages
Spruce up your resume. If you're heading into the workforce for the first time, returning to it after your children are grown, or seeking a second career, bringing all your employment history up to date is essential. Use strong keywords illustrating your best aptitudes for the type of employment desired. Examples for a secretarial position include "proactive problem solving," "high quality customer service" and "excellent telephone etiquette." Set your resume apart by using monogrammed professional note paper and tailoring your resume to be industry-specific.
If you need help, check with your local unemployment office or community college. Numerous state offices and regional schools now have special training for people over 50, or provide resume services so you can head out for those interviews with professional paperwork.
Read the want ads and check websites that specialise in job listings for people over 50, such as Workforce 50. Also consult with local senior groups or centres that provide job postings.
Job hunting requires persistence. Schedule several hours each day for finding suitable openings and submitting your resume. Keep a list of your applications to avoid duplication.
Get additional training in your field and bring yourself up to date on computer technology. Some employers hesitate to hire women over 50 thinking they don't have current skill-sets, but the solution is simple. Purchase budget-friendly tutorials for commonly used computer and word-processing programs or take an adult education class. Put that training on your resume.
Write down your transferable skills. A transferable skill is one that you gained by doing normal daily activities---and you have 55 years of those. For example, perhaps you redecorated your home recently and did all the interior painting. Now, interior painting becomes a transferable skill. A 55-year-old woman who volunteers as a leader for a charitable endeavour might list organisation, leadership and facilitation as transferable skills. This skill list broadens your options when job hunting. Don't forget things like parenting, caregiving, cleaning and budgeting.
Network with your community. Throughout the United States "over 50" type groups get together regularly, offering information and training. Call your local chapter of the AARP, your church, employment counsellors, etc. and create a master list of groups that support your goals.
Tips and warnings
- When you get interviews dress for success and stay positive and focused.
- Network with business contacts telling them you're job hunting.
- Keep your resume under two pages in length.
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