Tips for Managing Unemployment at Age 50 and Over

Unemployed and Over 55

Unique Challenges in Economically Hard Times

If you’re 50 and over and suddenly laid-off you are among thousands of others just like you filing for unemployment and wondering, “What now? Who’s going to hire me?”

The Baby Boomers as a whole have stuck around in good jobs and their numbers grow every year. So while it seems as though you have been let go because you’re “older” in many cases the reason is simply that there are many more 55 and older workers. No one, old or young, educated or uneducated, rich or poor, male or female, is immune from unemployment.

In fact, the number of unemployed climb exponentially among younger workers, the highest being among the 16 to 19 year olds and the 20 to 24 year olds.

Unemployed and Discouraged

The Bureau of Labor Statistics actually counts the number of unemployed that are “Discouraged” and not looking for jobs for a variety of reasons, including: “thinks no work available, could not find work, lacks schooling or training, employer thinks too young or old, and other types of discrimination.” *

According to the AARP, some of the resignation among older unemployed workers is due to the length of time it takes many of them to find a new job. In general younger workers suddenly out of work, bounce back quickly and pick up ad hoc jobs, here and there, but older workers are not as resilient.

Here are some tips for older and unemployed adults:

  • Register at your local Workforce Center and be enthusiastic about finding a job.
  • Accept the fact that this is a lengthy recession and that actually finding a job may take a while.
  • Get help creating your resume or updating the one you have.
  • Use any job interview as an opportunity to refresh and fine-tune your interviewing skills.
  • If your computer skills are feeble or non-existent, explore the opportunities for local community education courses that train you in basic or advanced skills. Courses like these are common almost everywhere; they are affordable, if not free, and convenient.
  • File your resume with a temporary staffing agency, highlight your years of experience and your strengths.
  • Get job references in writing from colleagues, managers/supervisors, clients/customers—encourage them to include quantifiable information in their reference letters. Ask a few if they are willing to provide the same in verbal references. These are “testimonials” to your qualifications and experience—what you can bring and offer to an employer/place of business.
  • Seek the support of a local group of unemployed adults—groups like these have cropped up all over the country.
  • Volunteer with an organization you respect and might enjoy learning more about.
  • Check out your job hunting opportunities with job placement services that offer assistance specifically for those over 50 or over 55.

Older employees offer employers some benefits that younger workers do not: you are more likely to stay in a job long-term and to remain motivated and engaged.

*BLS, Persons not in the labor force

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Comments  

 
# michael c. 2010-08-30 11:31
after 30 years of utility and plumbing construction experience, I was over-looked for promotion and eventually "laid-off", with no hope of re-hire.I was never given a reason, knowing the lack of work in the area.I thought experience would count to my benefit, along with experience came AGE. I now believe, this is the reason of my lay-off,but no proof. signed, 2yrs.off
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# Adrian C 2010-10-08 13:43
I AM 75 YEARS OLD AND DRAWING SOCIAL SECURTIY AND WORKING, I GOT LAID OFF AND I WAS WANTING TO KNOW IF I CAN DRAW UNEMPLOYMENT?
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# maria f. 2011-01-10 14:27
i lost mi job three months ago. i was receiving unemployment. two months later i found employment. i lost my job two weeks ago. the bank took my car, i was behind because my husband is sick with cancer. no income from him for the past 16 months. can i apply for unemployment again? thank you.
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# Mark 56+ 2011-01-20 09:50
I'd say yes. You should be able to reopen on the claim that you have not exhausted.
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# PG 2011-01-25 09:20
This article ignores a major problem. Many professions have either disappeared or have been restructured to eliminate full-time jobs. When ad after ad calls for "2-5 years' experience,: what they are saying is that they do not want to train anyone, but they want a younger worker who will take a salary that is one-third what an experienced worker had earned. Those of us who are "overqualified" (i.e., we are older) are NOT ALLOWED to even negotiate. We are dismissed as candidates. Similarly, consulting and hourly rate jobs cannot pay bills such as a monthly COBRA payment of up to $800. Enthusiasm will not get work. We need useful advice, not pep talks.
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# j marshal 2013-03-25 12:02
I 54 and been unemployed for 3 years. I worked the factroys in iowa for 25 years. I took a picture on the poduction floor and got fired. Yes a picture! looking for work on the cumpuer has been a challagen. In the day you went to the place and had a person hand you a app. Today is online only.... 1 how do you know they received it. 2 how do you know if our in the running for this job. 3 when do you have the right idea to call and check on resume.
4 what happens when you reapply to the same job 1 year later. cumputer says we already have your ss number? ok for young aduls this is common? i have given up in heart. But mind says try. Please help as only thing left to do is sale sale sale.
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