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Oregon's Older Job-Hunters Learn New Tricks

May 13, 2010

SALEM, Ore. - While the unemployment rate for workers over age 55 is slightly lower than the overall rate, it is still higher than it has been in 60 years, according to AARP Oregon, and older workers tend to be unemployed longer than younger ones. However, at a Wednesday seminar in Salem, participants learned it is not impossible to compete for jobs with people half their age, as long as they focus on their strengths and experience.

One of their coaches was Daniel Rodriguez, a retired employment recruiter for the State of Oregon. He says those sending out resumes with no response should rewrite them, and tailor them to every job.

"Preparing a resume is kind-of like a first date. I want you to tell me - in the way you show me on paper - enough to keep me interested, but don't show me everything you've ever done in your life."

Rodriguez told the crowd that anyone can say they're a 'quick learner' or a 'people person.' Employers want specific examples, based on previous experience. The group also learned about social networking, job growth trends and staying motivated during the search. Those fortunate enough to get a job interview will do better if they spend some time researching the company first, he adds.

"Find out what they do the best, and make sure that it matches with what you do the best. Mention those things. Nothing impresses companies more than to have you reference something that they have done, or are doing - because that means that you've done research."

Nationwide, about two million people ages 55 and older are out of work. The next AARP Oregon job-hunting seminar is June 19 at the Senior Center in Bend; others will be held throughout the summer.

Chris Thomas, Public News Service - OR