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Job tips for older unemployed workers

By Jen Haley, producer

NEW YORK (CNN) -- Older workers are not only falling out of the job market, they're trying to stay in the job market longer.

Unemployment for mature workers is up 331% over the past decade according to AARP. In response, the senior advocacy group is holding a series of job fairs throughout the country to help older folks get back into the workforce.

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Here are some ways to strengthen your hand in negotiating your next position.

1. Whittle down your experience

One of the biggest obstacles for older workers is that they may be overqualified for jobs they're applying to. So, whittle down your resume to what's really important.

  • Focus on the last ten years. Stress money earned for the company, costs eliminated or time saved. And share only those qualifications that match the job opening. Don't talk at length about your vast experience. Focus on what you can do for your employer.
  • Leave off school graduation dates. Don't start your resume with dates and leave off the date you graduated from high school or college.
  • Fill work gaps with volunteering and consulting. Try to avoid gaps in your work history too. To make up for long gaps, consider volunteering or doing some pro-bono consulting work.
  • Join professional associations, subscribe to trade journals and keep up with innovations and developments in your field as much as possible.

2. Get retrained

If you are over 55 and meet certain income requirements AARP has a free Senior Community Service Employment Program (SCSEP).

AARP staff will assess your job skills and interests, connect you with training, help you update your resume and provide you with job leads.

As part of the program you will also work part time for a host agency like a food bank or a library.

For more information, or to find a SCSEP program in your area, go to AARP's Web site and enter in SCSEP in the search tool.

You may find that going back to school is the way to go.

First, check out your local community college.

And don't forget to look for scholarships. Financial aid is financial aid regardless of how old you are. There are over 250 awards created especially for students who are over 25 years old, and over 1,800 scholarships that are available to someone of any age. Check out finaid.org and type in "Older" in the search tool.

Talkback: Do you know of an older worker who recently found a new job? To top of page

Free Career Fairs for the 50+ Job Seeker
Date State City
3/17/2010NVLas Vegas
3/24/2010MOSt. Louis
5/4/2010NVLas Vegas
6/15/2010NCWinston Salem
6/16/2010MOSt. Louis
9/14/2010NVLas Vegas
* Dates and locations as of March 5, 2010
Source: AARP
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