Finding a job in a flagging economy is tough for everyone, but it can seem especially daunting for workers who get pink-slipped during the middle or latter part of their careers.
Not only have you lost a job, but the comfortable lifestyle you've built for your family over decades of work is suddenly at risk. Add a few college-bound children to the mix, and the prospect of facing unemployment becomes even scarier.
Unfortunately, millions of out-of-work Americans at this stage in life also face a double conundrum: They are too young to retire but also are loathe to entry-level jobs.
With the unemployment rate currently topping 8 percent, snagging an offer letter will likely involve a lot more than dusting off the old resume and shaking a few hands. You'll need a full arsenal of modern job-search strategies to find a job comparable to your former position.
Start by making a realistic assessment of your skills. Do they apply to today's job market? Also, remember to reach out to contacts you've made over the years, maintain your health and keep a positive attitude.
Senior job level search strategies
- Get tech savvy
- Keep resume concise
- Remain flexible
- Use networking
- Prepare for the interview
- Consider changing professions
Get tech savvyEons ago, in the stone age of corporate America -- the 1980s, for example -- employers advertised jobs in local newspapers or trade magazines. Circling ads and trudging to the post office with a pile of stamped envelopes was de rigueur.
But those days are fading away.
"More and more employers are posting jobs online, and more and more employers require that you apply online," says Deborah Russell, director of workforce issues at AARP.
"One of the most important things -- particularly for those who may be looking for a job for the first time in many years -- is that the world of searching for a job has changed," she says.
With tools such as computers, e-mail and cell phones taking the place of typewriters and fax machines, "unwired" job seekers will likely find themselves remaining just that -- job seekers. Meanwhile, more tech-savvy individuals are likely to land jobs more quickly.
Although most Americans are "wired" and use the Internet frequently, some still don't have e-mail accounts or aren't proficient with basic word-processing software.
More than 20 percent of U.S. heads of households have never used e-mail, according to a 2008 survey by Parks Associates, a market research and consulting firm that specializes in consumer technology products.
The same study found that about 20 million U.S. households -- or 18 percent -- don't have Internet access.
Don't fret if you lack a few computer basics. Most big-box retailers sell tutorial software that's relatively easy to use and allows you to learn at your own pace.
You can also go to your local library and log onto a computer for free in most cases.
For some, formal instruction works best.
"A great place to go is your community college and even some staffing agencies," Russell says. "Temporary agencies will also work with you to get your skills up to speed before they send you out on an assignment. So those might be two options to look at."