Career Advice

Overcome Middle-Age Job Loss: Your Guide to Getting Hired

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A rising number of individuals in their 50s and 60s are finding it crucial to continue working to secure a comfortable retirement and quality of life. Being excluded from the workforce can have devastating financial implications for those in middle age. Moreover, since the recent economic downturn, job creation has been insufficient to meet the needs of the general population, let alone those nearing the end of their careers.

Tips for Getting Hired

  • Re-Evaluate Your Skill Set: Take inventory of your current skills and identify gaps. Consider upskilling through online courses or workshops to make yourself more marketable.
  • Update Your Resume: Your resume should reflect your most recent experiences and skills. Make sure it’s updated, formatted correctly, and tailored for your target industry.
  • Network, Network, Network: Leverage your contacts, both online and offline. Attend industry events, join relevant online forums, and connect with professionals on social platforms like LinkedIn.
  • Consider Freelancing: If full-time positions are scarce, think about freelancing or consulting. It’s a way to continue working while searching for a more stable opportunity.
  • Expand Your Search: Don’t limit your job search to your current location. Remote work is increasingly common, and you may find more opportunities by expanding your search parameters.
  • Consult a Career Coach: A career coach can provide personalized guidance and help you navigate the complexities of job searching after a certain age.
  • Prepare for Interviews: Brush up on your interview skills, especially if it’s been a while. Know how to address age-related questions tactfully and confidently.
  • Stay Active Online: Regularly update your LinkedIn profile, engage with your network, and share industry-relevant content. An active online presence can make you more attractive to employers.
  • Set Up Job Alerts: Use job search engines to set up alerts for positions that align with your skills and interests. This will help you apply for jobs as soon as they become available.
  • Mind Your Wellbeing: Job loss can be emotionally taxing. Make sure to exercise, eat well, and consult a mental health professional if needed.

Unemployment Devastation

As of October 21, 2023, the United States is witnessing a concerning trend: more than 2.2 million people aged 55 or older are currently without a job. This figure accounts for 8.8% of the total unemployed population in the country. Shockingly, this is the highest unemployment rate ever recorded for this particular age group. Additionally, almost half of these older individuals have been struggling with unemployment for a period extending beyond six months, further complicating their efforts to secure stable employment and prepare for retirement.

Experiencing unemployment is difficult at any age, but older workers often face unique challenges in their job search. Many suspect that their résumés are overlooked in favor of those submitted by younger candidates. Additionally, they find that their job-seeking abilities, along with specific technical skills employers are seeking, have become outdated after years of employment with the same organization.

Many people had actually planned on working past traditional retirement ages to financially prepare for longer life spans, rising healthcare costs, and diminished pension guarantees.

Financial Impact & Obsolete Skills

Forced early retirement or unemployment brings about severe financial stress, especially for those with lower incomes. However, even middle-class individuals, who might have managed to get by on their savings or a spouse’s income, find themselves disoriented by the sudden halt in their working lives and the subsequent impact on their retirement security.

According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, as of July 2023, people aged 55 to 64 experience an average unemployment duration of 22.8 weeks—nearly four weeks longer than those aged 35 to 44. This marks the longest period of unemployment for this age group since data tracking began in 1968. Factors like age discrimination and lack of transferable skills contribute to this trend. Despite these challenges, prospects remain hopeful as employment for those 55 and over is expected to grow 26.1% from 2020 to 2030. Networking and skill updates can improve job chances for older workers.

Exclusion from the workforce can financially destroy middle-aged persons. And since the economic collapse, there are not enough jobs being created for the population as a whole, much less for those in the twilight of their careers.Click To Tweet

Advocates for those over the age of 50 express concern that younger individuals are more likely to secure new job opportunities. One reason is that the skills of older workers may have deteriorated or become less relevant to the current job market. Furthermore, many middle-aged individuals who lost stable, well-paying positions continue to struggle to find secure career paths several years later.

Education & Career Retraining

Education and career retraining are vital for adapting to today’s fast-changing job market. These programs help individuals, especially older workers, update their skills and improve employability. Short courses, certifications, and degrees offer paths to new career opportunities.

Penn Foster is a nationally known leader in online courses, from high school to bachelor’s degrees, including highly popular and growing careers like pharmacy technician, home remodeling and repair, or medical assistant/billing & coding.

Too Old to Hire, Too Young to Retire
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Feeling stuck or in need of a leg up? These tips, strategies, and resources can shorten your learning curve dramatically and get you on a new path for moving forward.

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07/23/2024 11:56 pm GMT

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