Boomers Take a Step Back Down the Career Ladder
Ed Bankos, 61, of Charlotte, N.C., has applied for about 20 jobs online since he was laid off in May, but he hasn't gotten a single job interview.
"You just E-mail them your résumé , and you sit back and you wait," says Bankos, who worked at a company that makes steel molds.
Over the past three months, Bankos has steadily lowered his expectations for finding a new job. At the peak of his career, he made $70,000 annually.
Now he's applying for jobs that pay $12 to $13 an hour. Bankos is one of a growing number of baby boomers considering stepping back down a rung or two on the career ladder. Here's how to cope with the new job-search reality.
Prepare for a lower-status job
Older workers who change jobs after age 51 typically move out of manager positions and into new jobs with fewer responsibilities, less pay, and fewer benefits, according to a recent
Job hunting can take a while
It can be frustrating to spend so much time on the job hunt when you have a solid résumé. "When I got out of college, I had to wait tables and things like that because they told me I wasn't experienced like the older workforce," says Deb Holley, 56, of Ankeny, Iowa. She now has an M.B.A.and is a certified public accountant. "Now I get told over and over that I am overqualified." The typical laid-off worker at least 55 years old was unemployed for 28.6 weeks in July, more than a month longer than the 23.4 weeks younger workers were job hunting, according to the
Try not to let your frustration over the length of the job search affect your interactions with potential employers. "There are quite a few candidates out there who may have been looking a while and are panicked, but you still need to sell yourself," says Rosemary Haefner, vice president of human resources at
Get in the door
Of course, you have to get your résumé to the top of the stack before you can score an interview and a new job. "Don't put things on your résumé that highlight your age such as the year you graduated from college," advises Tom Musbach, senior editor of
Pick a new field
If you can't find a job similar to your previous position, a layoff is the perfect excuse to test out a new career field. Tap into your extensive network of friends and acquaintances to inquire about openings in other fields. "Older people often have an advantage in terms of having a much broader and more extensive network," says Musbach.
Also consider going back to school or retraining for a new field. Charlotte Sanders, 59, of Murfreesboro, Tenn., was a senior credit representative for an energy company until she was laid off in 2001. After years of searching for a job with the same level of pay and seniority, Sanders studied for and took the state exam for a license to sell insurance. This week, Sanders begins a new job selling life, health, and accident insurance.
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