The Boomer is a column written for adults nearing retirement age and those already in their golden years. It will also promote reader interaction by posting e-mail responses and answering reader questions. E-mail your questions or topic ideas to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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The face of long-term unemployment is getting old.
In today's job market baby boomers face the largest overall increase in long-term unemployment. While some data shows that people over the age of 50 are less likely to lose their job, those that do get laid off have a harder time than younger counterparts of finding a job. And with many boomers facing diminished retirement savings accounts thanks to the financial crisis, many need a steady paycheck to replenish their nest eggs.
According to a report called "The New Unemployables," a joint study by Boston College and Rutgers, more 50-plus workers are getting so discouraged by prospects, that they are quitting looking for a job altogether.
While Gen-Y is also facing high unemployment rates there are key differences between how they and the boomer generation should approach finding a job.
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Jean Setzfand, AARP vice president for financial security offered the following tips to baby boomers on how they can make themselves more attractive to hiring managers:
Boomer: What are your top tips for boomers when it comes to updating their resume?
Setzfand: Many boomers may not have put together a resume in years. To say it simply: Keep your resume as simple and straightforward as possible, showing the value that you can provide to a prospective employer. It is important that you put together a functional resume that emphasizes accomplishments, rather than a chronological listing of jobs and activities over the years. Also, try to tailor your resume to the specific job that you are applying for. You also want to make it clear that your computer skills are current and, if possible, that you are comfortable with social media.
Boomer: What are your top tips for boomers when it comes to the interview process?
Setzfand: First and foremost, know who you are interviewing with. In the same way, that you want your resume tailored to a prospective employer, you want to know as much as you can about the employer that you are interviewing with. Leverage your network and find current employees who may be able to give you more information about the culture and other qualities important to the organization. That way, you may be able to volunteer specific work accomplishments that are relevant to their needs and ask more tailored questions. It is also important that you deemphasize yourself to some extent as you stress how you can help the organization.
Boomer: Some suggest boomers looking for work should consider new industries outside their work experience. What are some of the top industries for the 50 and older workforce?
Setzfand: Our 10-year experience with the AARP Best Employers for Workers Over 50 program has consistently shown that the health-care industry is highly favorable for older workers seeking employment. This year, for example, Scripps Health of San Diego was the top finisher among our 50 honorees, and many other health-care organizations also made the list.
There has been a real shortage of health-care professions, particularly in nursing, making competition intense for top talent. Demand in this industry will continue to increase as boomers consume more health-care services. Health-care work environments also offer other perks like flexible work arrangements (since they are often 24-7 operations), broad health-care benefits and training and development opportunities.
Another good sector for boomers looking for work is retail. Retail has had chronic recruitment and retention concerns, and often offers good part-time opportunities.
For other job tips, please check the AARP website.
Another web site I would recommend to my boomer readers for employment assistance is the Senior Community Service Employment Program (SCSEP), a community service and work based training program for older workers.
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