The economic downturn is hurting American workers across the board, including older workers, which is why many are putting off retirement or re-entering the workforce. A new survey by AARP found that seven in 10 workers older than 50 expect to be employed in retirement, mainly in part-time work.
The new issue of AARP magazine has a list of the top companies for 50+ workers and half of the top 20 employers are in health care. Unlike most sectors, health care is growing, which means workers of all ages benefit. The good news is that it's not concentrated in one part of the country; there are health care organizations in every state. And they're not just hiring doctors and nurses. The field employs administrative workers, pharmacists, and elder care agents—a wide range of non-caregiving roles.
How to find the jobs. If you're interested in pursuing an opportunity in the health care industry, make a list of all of the hospitals in your area. Research the health care systems, pharmacies, major medical practices and health insurance providers. Check their Web sites for job openings.
In addition, consider resources dedicated to the 50+ market. RetirementJobs.com has 30,000 current jobs, 2,000 of which have been added in the last 30 days, directly posted by employers that want to recruit old workers. YourEncore.com is another site for older workers.
Don't stop there. Once you've submitted your resume online, make a call to the HR department or the hiring manager to reiterate why you're an ideal match. Finding a name and making that connection is often the difference between your resume being viewed or sitting in that black hole. If you can't get a name by cold-calling, use LinkedIn.com to search for a specific name.
Be reachable. One challenge for older workers is consistent communication, especially for those without a computer with Internet access at home. If you visit a library once a week to use the Internet, you'll miss out on opportunities if a prospective employer tries to reach you on the other six. Use a friend's computer to check your email—you can use gmail.com, yahoo.com or hotmail.com, among others, to set up a free email account to access from anywhere—or provide a cell phone number. Date the resume. Last week, we asked viewers to send in questions on "GMA's" job crisis hotline and we've received more than 1,000 inquires. (I'm still responding to them, I promise! Everyone will receive a response, unless their email address was incorrectly entered.) Among the popular questions from 50+ workers: "How many years of work experience should I list on my resume?"
Go back 10 or 15 years. There is no need to include what you were doing in the 70s and 80s. Leave off your year of college graduation unless it's very recent because you went back to school.
A few people told me their most impressive experience was with prestigious companies early in their career and they wanted to benefit from those big names. In that case, just include a final bullet point under experience that says, "Previous experience at XYZ." A chronological resume is expected. Click here for a resume template if you need help crafting the proper document or if you want to compare your current version to a popular format.
Tory Johnson is the Workplace Contributor on Good Morning America and the CEO of Women For Hire. Visit her Web site at www.womenforhire.com.