Jobs for Older Workers
by Carrie Mayne
Do you find yourself past the big 5-0 and diving into that pool we call the labor force? If so, you may want to think a little differently about your job search than you did when you were 20-something. What you want out of your work life is probably very different than it was a few decades ago. Your skills and abilities have probably changed as well. And let’s face it, even though there are laws against age discrimination, most people over 50 find it more difficult to obtain a job. One thing that will surely make things easier for you is to be strategic when you choose the career fields you pursue. Picking the right occupations can help you quickly find a job that will fit your unique career goals. Here are some suggestions for picking just the right job:
Evaluate your transferable skills.
Over your life you’ve acquired many useful skills, whether it was in a previous career or through other life experiences. You’d be surprised to see how skills can transfer across occupations. The Department of Workforce Services (DWS) offers an online tool that can help you discover jobs you may already be qualified for. Find it at: http://jobs.utah.gov/jsp/wi/utalmis/reemplHome.do.
There are many training programs available where, in just a short amount of time, you’ll be taught to perform a job you may not currently be qualified to do. And oftentimes there are programs available to help you with training expenses. Contact your local DWS office for more information.
If you’re willing and able to work part-time instead of full-time, you’ll definitely expand the number and types of jobs available to you. For some occupations, part-time work is the norm.
And what may be the most important suggestion is to target jobs that tend to be older-worker friendly. There are some occupations where employers see an advantage to employing the more seasoned worker over the younger, less experienced folks. Here is a list of some jobs that can fit this description:
Teacher assistant—education occupations continue to grow in the face of economic downturns, so if you like working with children this is a great career for you. In most cases, only some short on-the-job training is necessary to qualify.
Consultant—outsourcing project management, marketing, and quality control is very common nowadays. If you have experience in any of these fields, you may want to reach out to past work contacts to look for opportunities. There are also companies who, for a fee, will help consultants find work.
Customer greeter—Wal Mart isn’t the only store in town anymore who’s taking advantage of greeters to convey a friendly atmosphere in their shops.
Tour guide—Is there a museum, park, or hospitality-based business that you love? Become a tour guide and share your passion with others.
Security screener—The Transportation Security Administration is often looking for airport screeners to fill both part and full-time positions and is known for being “older worker friendly”. Keep in mind that the positions typically require some security-related experience.
English instructor—Ever thought of spending time in another country? Many employers (public and private) in other countries offer language instruction jobs to native English speakers. A three- to six-month training may be required, but in most cases you’ll be paid to complete the program.
Home care assistant—If you’ve gained experience in caring for people in need over the years (whether it be paid or unpaid), then you’ve already got a jump-start in pursuing a job as a home care assistant. You may still need some on-the-job training, but you’ll find that these jobs aren’t too tough to come by.
One final note of caution: predators are out there targeting older workers searching for employment. You should never have to pay to obtain a job, nor should you have to give bank account or credit card information. Some “pay to play” job opportunities are just bogus scams to take your money. Research the employer thoroughly to ensure they are a legitimate company that really is looking to hire before you start building a relationship with them.