AGE IS AN ASSET

Georgia Department of Labor Michael L. Thurmond, Commissioner

Much has been made of the youth-oriented culture of our time, and a few mass circulation magazines have bemoaned the “plight” of the older worker. Corporate downsizing. The reduction of middle management. Retrenched industries. The widespread use of contingency workers, consultants and part-timers. All have combined to create new realities in the marketplace. These changes have had a major impact on all workers, but older job seekers must cope with age-related issues as well. You can beat the age-related issues, however, if you have a clear understanding of the trends defining today’s workplace and how they impact your job search.

downsized are more likely to be hired by small or midsize companies. The new work realities call for a major shift in expectations and attitude, and they require a much more proactive approach to all aspects of your career. Further, you can probably count on many healthy, active years ahead and will likely need to fund a longer life.

Strategies for Job Seekers Over 50
Here are some strategies to help you assess your current situation. Your First Moves l Get a clear picture of your finances, both current and farther down the road. Your financial situation will determine the parameters within which you will be making job decisions, including whether you need to work full time or part time, and how much money you need to make. l Do a thorough assessment of your values, interests, experiences, skills and education/training. This will help you to decide your next step and to market yourself with greater confidence. Write an accomplishment-oriented resume. Focus on the benefits you offer an employer. Omit early jobs if they do nothing to enhance you on paper. Your Network l Develop and continually expand your network. As an older person, you know more people. Make them part of your job-search strategy. l Explore other sources of leads as well, such as newspaper ads, recruitment firms, permanent and temporary staffing agencies, government listings, job fairs, alumni college offices, and professional associations. Your Skills l Continue to upgrade your skills. Retrain, if necessary.

Workplace Trends
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Companies continue to downsize, and older, more experienced workers are often among the hardest hit. The flattening of the corporate hierarchy has reduced middle management staff – including many older workers. The growing phenomena of a large, widespread contingency workforce at all levels continues to have an impact on the older job seeker. More and more companies are hiring non-permanent employees, including long-term staffers. The growth of small and midsize businesses, including franchises account for 75% of the hiring in the last several years. The lengthening reach of technology into everyone’s life, which has affected how people work, where they work, and what kinds of tasks they do.

The Effects on Older Workers
The results of these fundamental and dramatic changes impact older workers in many ways. Those who have been

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DOL-4437 (06/01)

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Lifelong learning is no longer a choice; it is a necessity. By all means, if you are not computer literate, become so. Do volunteer work. It will keep you in touch with your skills and strengths, help you to develop new ones in a low-risk or no-risk situation, give you a sense of accomplishment and may lead to a paying job. Moreover, doing unpaid work sometimes can be used as a strategy to penetrate an organization or industry.

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knowledge would be of value to the organization’s needs and goals in the years ahead. When negotiating a job offer, if you have medical benefits from your last employer, you can use them by offering to keep your old plan, or you can use your benefits as a bargaining chip to increase your compensation.

Your Work Options l Become part of the contingency workforce, regardless of your job level or function. Temporary employment can come through such sources as an agency, a consulting opportunity or as a subcontracted project. It may not lead to full-time employment, but it keeps you involved professionally, maintains and/or develops your skills, leads to new contacts and generates income. l Consider doing part-time, temporary or seasonal work for a former employer. Some companies have established hiring pools for their retirees. Your Interview and Job Offers l When interviewing, project the three “E’s” –experience, energy and enthusiasm. Face forward and stress the future. Indicate your willingness to learn, your ability to adapt and your experience working with people of all ages. Overcome potential age concerns by demonstrating non-defensively how your skills, background and

Your Attitude l Maintain a “can-do” attitude to propel yourself forward and achieve your goals. Studies have proven that optimism is a powerful predictor of success. A positive outlook will draw support from many people along the way, whereas a negative attitude turns other people off. l Be proud of the knowledge, wisdom and experience of your years, as well as your work ethics and habits. If you value your work, education, training and skills, so too will the world. You are experiencing an important career/life transition. Managing major change can be unsettling and frightening. However, you can help yourself by tapping into successful transitions you have already made and thinking about those internal and external resources you utilized. Use yourself as a positive role model as you set goals and implement plans to achieve them. Remember – the best way to control your future is to create it! Source: A.A.R.P.

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