Middle-aged and unemployed: Smartly seize the opportunity for change

A career change could be in your future.

by monsterstaff, published 04/15/2014
Business direction The overall unemployment rate for March of 2014 was 6.7 percent, according to the U.S. Department of Labor's Bureau of Labor Statistics. Those ages 45 to 54 fared better than the national average at 5 percent, as did workers ages 55 and older at 4.8 percent. These stats offer hope to unemployed middle-aged workers, and while the BLS does not track career changes, you can bet more than a few are considering one at this point in their life. If you have ever wanted to make such a switch, whether it involves moving into a different position within your industry or changing fields entirely, do so strategically by following these three tips: 1. Get the training you need As a middle-aged worker, you likely have decades of experience in your chosen field. You may not have the required diploma for a desired position, though. For example, are you an excellent salesperson who lacks the bachelor's degree needed to move into a managerial role? Consider going back to school to get it. If you are unsure of what exactly a certain position calls for, the BLS website serves as an excellent resource. It also lists job outlook and median pay by type of position and industry so you can decide whether tuition costs will pay for themselves with higher income. If you want to start from scratch in a new field, know that doing so is not as daunting as it sounds, thanks to the emergence of online learning institutions. For example, a gun enthusiast can earn a diploma in gunsmithing in just three months from their own home through the online college, Penn Foster, turning a hobby into a fulfilling career. These types of degree programs also often include internships that allow you to gain real work experience. 2. Update your cover letter and resume Once you are fully trained and qualified for the career you want, put it in writing. Monster.com advises middle-aged workers to only put information relevant to the open position on a cover letter and resume. It helps you appear more youthful to hiring managers who may see decades of experience in another field as making you overqualified or not sufficiently qualified. Using an experience-focused format for your resume, as opposed to one that lists education and employment history by date, can also remove age from the equation in the early rounds of resume culling. 3. Thoroughly prep for an interview In addition to learning all you can about the position for which you are applying and the company posting the job, research the interviewer and other employees you may meet. Connect with hiring managers through LinkedIn and look for recent company successes or shared interests to reference during the interview. Not only will it show an above-and-beyond interest, such homework will demonstrate a familiarity of modern business tools. Also be sure to prep your personal appearance for meeting potential employers. Monster.com reminds middle-aged workers who may not have been on an interview in years to ensure their clothes fit well, are age-appropriate, and are not dated.
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