Job Search For the Older Worker
If you find yourself in a long unemployment line, staring at the back of the head of the person in front of you and wondering how things have come to this pass. Take heart, there is a job out there for you. Even in this economy.
The June of 2008 US News and World report listed the jobs that older Americans are most likely to find available. I will use this article as a jumping off point in the search for jobs for mature Americans. We will not visit all of the jobs and professions in the article because in our current economic straits, some of the jobs would be untenable. For instance, real estate broker does not seem like a particularly good job to have right now even if it was available.
The jobs we will look at are:
1. Retail Sales/ Sales worker 2. Driver 3. Secretaries/Administrative assistant 4. Tax preparer
Let’s make a few simplifying assumptions. First, let us stipulate that the elderly worker is willing to move to get a new job and that he is willing to train for a new job if necessary. These assumptions may not be as arbitrary as they seem. If you and a large number of coworkers were laid off, it is less likely that the particular skill that you have is not in demand in the place where you live. A willingness to retrain and a willingness to move virtually doubles your chances of getting a new job.
Given that we are talking about an older worker, a long apprenticeship is out of question. Jobs like engineer, doctor, lawyer, and machinist are out unless you already possess those skills.
Of the four areas we have decided to look at let’s see which one would be the most fruitful. We are going to use one of the large popular job search sites to do our looking. Namely Yahoo’s hotjobs. We are going to simplify our search criteria to make it easier to search and find the most jobs.
Let’s search on the word “retail” by typing that word in the keyword box and clearing out anything that might be in the City or Category boxes. Then push the search button. I get the following:
1. Retail: 21,944 jobs
A very good supply. Let’s try some similar search terms:
A. Sales: 36,938 jobs B. Worker: 8,513 jobs
2. Driver: 15,167 jobs A. Truck: 8,372 jobs
3. Admin 16,455 jobs A. Administrative 16,455 jobs B. Secretary 7,511 jobs
4. Tax 3,451 jobs A. Tax Preparer 65 jobs
If you are doing a thorough job search you might want to compare these results with those from the job search sites like Monster and HeadHunter. If you really want to wade through all the jobs in the working universe–and if your skills are not much in use you may have to–I recommend one of the meta search engines such as Indeed, JuJu, or SimplyHired. The meta job search engines allow you to search all the little job search sites in one fell swoop.
Meanwhile, back at the ranch, what can we learn from our Yahoo hotjobs search? If you want to increase your odds of getting a job nationwide, don’t become a tax preparer. Such advice must be taken with a grain of salt. Obviously as we get nearer to April 15th the demand for tax preparers should increase and the results of the search will change. But if you want a job right now, doing someone’s taxes does not look like the way to go.
Advertising yourself as a worker or a guy who knows trucks does not look like the best way to get a job.
If you have a resume that says you are a secretary, it seems like you might do better by creating a new resume that talks up your strengths as an administrative assistant.
Despite the weak economy, someone somewhere is still hiring retail sales folks. An administrative assistant with retail sales experience should be able to find a job pretty easily.
For grins let’s add a few more jobs that we think might be in demand.
1. Manager 36,652 jobs
2. Trainee 1,560 jobs
3. Entry level 14,734 jobs
Even if you are trying to enter a new field, do not look for a job as a trainee. Rather you should look for the entry level jobs.
As long as there are employees there must be managers so if you have a management skill that looks to be a good bet for you.
Different jobs sites go through different procedures when you actually look for the details on a job and try to apply. On Yahoo, you will sometimes need to click through to the website of an individual company and apply for work there. On the other hand, if you have saved your resume on Yahoo hotjobs, there will likely be some jobs you can apply for while never leaving the Yahoo website.
I would advise against the work at home jobs that you find on job search sites. Yes, such jobs exist. I have had two different ones. The problem is that most of the work at home jobs you will see are a scam intended to do one of two things. Either separate you from your money or to infect your computer with viruses or adware.
Some of the jobs you want to apply for may require office skills or software experience that you don’t have. Often there are community colleges or two year institutions near you that can quickly and cheaply teach you all you need to know. Some well equipped libraries have Microsoft Office software that you may practice on for free.
You should go to a vocational school only as a last resort. They can be expensive. If you do wind up at a vocational school, make sure that it has been in business for a few years. Make sure that it is accredited and licensed to operate in your state. Check for complaints against the institution on the better business bureau web site. See if the vocational school has any job search assistance and talk to former students to see if the assistance was timely and if employers welcomed the certificate that the vocational school offers.
Michael A. Skinner
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