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Even though the job market is tight, those over 40 still have as much opportunity as their younger competitor or more so.


I'm over 40 and got fired, well, laid off, more than a year ago. The company went under. But it's going on a year and a half that I haven't been able to find any kind of work at all. I feel as though employers only want the 20-somethings who are younger, more energetic and, most of all, cheaper.

You know, the economy started taking a nosedive around February 2000. It's been in a tailspin ever since and, although Greenspan won't say the "D" word, we're in a global economic depression. It's worsening. Every week, you can read the AIRS Outplacement news and see that the number of companies laying off workers and the numbers of workers being laid off are increasing, not decreasing. The number of corporate bankruptcies is also increasing. Chapter 11 appears to be the filing of choice, allowing companies to pay off debt as they struggle to survive and restructure.

So it isn't you; it's the current marketplace. Actually, you're in good job seeker company. Free everything has finally caught up with reality and we're paying the price now in several large ways.

What this new awareness is doing to businesses is forcing them to look at good management and business protocols and make better choices about their resources and how to maximize them. One of the staple resources companies have is their mature (over 40) workforce. Both Steve Bills and Jane Applegate of CNNfn, in their June and August articles, recommended employers look at older workers (among some other less often considered labor pools) for their recruiting and staffing efforts. To that end, the Society for Human Resources Management cited a 1999 article that recommended companies keep their traditional retirement candidates on staff either in part time positions, as consultants or telecommuters.

Attitudes toward older workers is changing. There appears to be an increased awareness that over 40 does not spell one foot in the grave and useless. In fact, employers are looking for the maturity and business sense that older workers possess because it is an enhancement to their business image. It also means less training which in turn means lower recruiting and staffing costs. In this economy, lowered costs is the watch phrase.

The Presentation
But you wrote because you want to know how to compete for the available jobs out there, not to get a financial forecast or an analysis of business practices. Here's a checklist for you:

  • Network among those in your industry
  • Attend workshops, trade shows, career fairs, seminars, mixers
  • Stay up to date on what's happening in your industry as far as trends and innovations
  • Do informational interviews and then follow them up not only with thank you notes but also with requests for the names and contact information of others who may have additional information
  • Pay attention to the job boards not only on career sites but also on the web sites of companies for which you want to work
  • Research the company you're going to interview with, then
  • Discuss how your talents, experience and track record will benefit the company because of the ways in which you can apply your knowledge to their business plan
  • Think and act like a team player working for the good of the organization
You're not out in the cold. In fact, you're just competing a little harder for that very desired carrot. Just apply some of those strategies you aleady know to get the job.

Originally published August 21, 2001

So there's my checklist. For some additional information, check what Kevin Donlin, of 1 Day Resumes, has to say in some of his articles.
  • 4 Ways to Crack the Hidden Job Market - 05/23/01
    A few tips on effective networking.
  • Overqualified ... or Under-Convinced? - 03/01/01
    Overcoming that nemesis of the seasoned candidate -- over-qualified.
  • What's the Benefit of Hiring You? - 03/08/01
    Make your resume shine with your accomplishments, the quantifiables, and make it easy for the interviewer to see what your results were and can be.
  • You, A Highly-Paid Expert? - 10/12/00
    Get yourself recognized as an expert. Several suggestions for doing so.

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