Practical Advice for Older Workers

by Sharon O’Toole, Workforce Consultant, Canyon County Local Office

A recent survey conducted by our Canyon County local office showed 50 percent of the respondents believe their age is a primary reason they can’t find a job.  To address this issue, we piloted a workshop for people who feel  their age may be affecting their ability to find that next job. Some of the people in these classes have been working for the same company, sometimes in the same position, for a number of years and have not looked for work recently. Now the whole process of applying for a position and presenting what they have to offer to an employer seems a bit daunting.

Serveral good ideas have emerged from the discussion in these workshops:

You have an advantage. Remember, older employees bring something to a position that younger workers cannot – the wisdom and judgment that comes with maturity and experience.

Be positive. Don’t let your age undermine your confidence before you even start looking!

Update your image. Take a good look in a mirror. If your clothing, hairstyle or color are dating you, freshen your look. This may seem superficial, but appearances do have an impact on how others perceive you.

Be open to change. If you have been doing the same things comfortably for quite a while, it can take some effort to not only accept but embrace change as something positive. Be ready to take on a new challenge.

Ready, aim, work! TARGET your resume to the position for which you are applying. Display your accomplishments. Businesses are interested in your ability to get results. Think about a format other than a typical chronological reiteration of your past employment. Emphasize the value you can bring to the position.

This isn’t your father’s workplace. Understand  you may be interviewed by and, if hired, possibly report to someone a generation younger than yourself. It is important to understand the multi-generational nature of today’s workplace and that different generations really do have differing views on such topics as the role of work in their lives, how to manage employees, and the use of technology (just to name a few issues).

Upgrade your skills. If you feel that technology has sort of left you behind, now is a good time to take a class or two, practice a bit and catch up.

The next workshop is scheduled for Weds. Jan 18 from 9 a.m. – 11 a.m. Additional sessions are scheduled for Feb 1, Feb 15, March 7 and March 21. To register, call the Canyon County Idaho Department of Labor office at 364-7781 and sign up!