Breaking Employment Barriers


Career Specialist

Job hunting at any age can be stressful. For those over the age of 50, the experience can be frightening in an uncertain job market. According to a 2012 study from the Government Accountability Office, the number of long-term unemployed people ages 55 and older has more than doubled since the onset of the recession.

About half of the people coming in for job search assistance feel age is a barrier to their employment. As tight as the job market is, it is not impossible for older workers to find a job. It might take some creativity and perseverance to succeed.

Don’t limit yourself. What transferable skills can you bring to another job? While it is important to maintain contacts and work your network in your previous field for job openings, examine your skill set and expand your job search to other fields where your skills apply.

Embrace technology. Many companies assume older workers have been passed by the digital age. If you can demonstrate you are proficient in mobile technology, tablets and social media, these skills can rank you above other applicants.

Fill in the gaps. If you have gaps in your resume or have spent too much time on the couch while unemployed, volunteering is a great way to keep your skills sharp and feel connected to the community. Volunteering provides an opportunity to network with other professionals, too.

Use age to your advantage. Many organizations find older applicants are more reliable and need less time to adapt than younger applicants with less experience.

Visit, an internet job search tool that features current, local job openings. For resume tools and additional information of how to prepare for a job, visit

Kathi Weilbacher is a Career Specialist at the Southwestern Illinois Workforce Investment Act office at the Monroe County Courthouse in Waterloo. She can be reached at 939-3332 or

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