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How’s a displaced 55 year old going to find a job now?

Times are SO tough.  I get a lot of emails and questions from Boomers and 50 Plussers who, literally, are down to the pennies in the cookie jar in order to put food on the family table.  I got a question yesterday that got to me.  Not because it is any different than so many others, but precisely because it isn’t really different than so many others.  These unusually difficult times call for extraordinary measures, so I tried to share viable, realistic strategies to try to find a job.  Here is the question and my answer.  Please feel free to add your own thoughts and suggestions.

Question: I am 55, with a progressive history in manufacturing management. Five years ago I moved to Arizona making a career change into real estate. As a result of the housing market I relocated to Los Angeles and began a job search targeting my past history in manufacturing.That was nine months ago and have had only two interviews during this time. I have been submitting through indeed, craigslist, monster,and others, with futility. I do not have any networking contacts since I failed to stay in touch. When I began the search I had one year of reserves to live off of. With only three months left I am in dire straits. Any suggestions will certainly be welcomed. Thanking you very much in advance.
 
Answer: Hi Mario

As you can see, through your challenging job search, the economy has created a disaster for most jobseekers and it is particularly tough for the 50 plus demographic.  Being in dire straits calls for some really direct strategic measures.

1)  If you have three months left of reserves, you need, first and foremost, to figure out how you will survive, if, in fact you don’t land a job soon.  Do you have family or friends to move in with?  Are you supporting a family?  If so, is there family somewhere else in the US that they can live with while you continue to search for work?  Many, many people and families are moving into survival mode and for most, that means consolidating all resources into one family pool.  No honor lost in that…it is a move back to depression era family structure.

2) Since you failed to stay in touch with past contacts, now is the time to crank up those connections.  As long as you had decent relationships in the past, there are some great vehicles for reuiniting with past colleagues, clients, suppliers, etc.  One resource is www.LinkedIn.com.  It is common practice to connect with as many people as you have had business or personal relationships in the past.  

Another excellent tool is www.Facebook.com.  Once you are connected on Facebook, you’ll never have to worry about keeping track of someone’s email address again.  Many companies are using Facebook as an outreach tool, so don’t be shy about connecting.

Finally, if you had very good connections in high school or university, and if you can’t find those people on Facebook or Linked In, head over to www.Classmates.com.  You might find some good contacts there.

3) At 55, you are at an age disadvantage.  You don’t say what you did in manufacturing, but if you were sharp in a particular field, focus on that area and then see where there might be a match in the ONLY hot industries today:  Healthcare and Allied Healthcare (including medical devices — smaller companies are growing quickly and their manufacturing and distribution demands are beyond their capabilities); alternative and renewable energy, and any of the companies that feed into that field; and private education.

4) Be prepared to move.  There are jobs, but you have to be willing to go to them.  Broaden your search to states that you might never have considered in the past.  

5) See if there are ANY consulting groups that could use your particular niche of knowledge.

6) Look at any hobby or task that you do well and see if you can generate some immediate income.  Are you proficient with tools?  Spring is here — perhaps you are genius with prepping bikes or motorcycle spring tune-ups.  Perhaps you can join demolish crews who have to empty out foreclosed homes?  What resources do YOU have that you can offer as a side business while you look for employment.

7) Finally, walk your search.  Beat the streets.  Most jobs will NOT be advertised on the online boards.  MANY companies are not paying money to put ads with paid searches.  Identify as many individual, smaller to mid-size companies as you can, and either go directly to their website or directly to their human resources manager (if you are lucky, they are still to small to have an HR manager and you’ll be talking to the finance manager) and see where their needs might be able to match with your skills sets.  

Hope that gives you a few ideas.

Best of success.  It is really tough out there, but there is a little movement.  Keep strong and you’ll make it through.

Janet Spiegel
www.genplususa.com

5 comments to How’s a displaced 55 year old going to find a job now?

  • There’s a book recognized as “Avoid Retirement And Stay Alive”. The thought could be the truth that retirement has no place in modern day society. In case you have the ability to make perform enjoyable by balancing it against the other points you’d like to do, then you can easily reside like you’ve got every one of the time within the globe.

  • I’ll just start by addressing a couple of points, you do realize cap and trade and the PPACA were both first proposed by Republicans, right?

  • Susan jensen

    Why are they retiring people at 55 when the social security is saying you can’t retire until you are 66 or older? I heard it was going to 70. The greedy rich rule and the politicians are just their lackeys. Greed.

  • Dianne

    Hi
    I am looking for a job. Mainly CNA.I recieved my CNA certification in Nov 2012. There are a lot of gaps in my work history. I have never volunteer for anything in my life time. I have applied to every online job site.The only reponse I have gotten back was do not have any experience. They tell me I need 6 months,or 1 to 5 years of experience. What can I do. At my aged I can not go back to school. That is too costly.

    • The best technique for finding work — in any field — in this prolonged period of challenging job search, is by going back to the techniques that people used before the computer age. That means literally calling and going into locations, finding the HR departments, following up with everyone you meet, and trying to find someone who knows someone who knows someone to help you get a foot in the door. One of the best online tools is LinkedIn.com, where you can create network opportunities by connecting with your own friends and business colleagues. I don’t know how old you are, but going back to school is not the answer…you’ll not recoup the investment in your education. If you haven’t volunteered, then you need to start volunteering at hospice and hospitals to gain some experience as well as connections. I’m sorry to say, but no one is giving away jobs right now. You have to work very hard to land one and if you look at creative ways to make new connections, or to get a foot in the door, that will go further than applying online, as a faceless applicant. You can also apply as an eldercare worker through different agencies to gain experience. Good luck. I know it is tough. – See more at: http://www.genplususa.com/hows-a-displaced-55-year-old-going-to-find-a-job-now/comment-page-1/#comment-21074

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