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Blacklisted! Unemployed Face Bias

When the unemployed need not apply, older workers may suffer most

Advice for the long-term unemployed

Ignore companies that exclude the unemployed and focus on organizations that are friendly to older workers, says reCareered.com's Phil Rosenberg. "SimplyHired.com's advanced search feature filters jobs by companies that are 50-plus-friendly," he says. "Look for industries like health care, financial services and retail that cater to older customers. They are more likely to hire older workers." Companies on AARP's National Employer Team also value mature workers

Nonprofit organizations are ripe with potential for age 50-plus adults, says David Garvey, director of Encore!Hartford. "Nonprofits view seasoned professionals as a new pool of resources," he adds. Nearly 80 percent of Encore!Hartford's graduates have found work, according to Garvey.

Employee referrals produce the highest number of hires of any recruiting source, says John Sullivan of San Francisco State University. You should network in job support groups and use social media websites such as Facebook and LinkedIn to find contacts within a target company.

Tough times call for tough tactics, adds Sullivan. Disguise your unemployed status by keeping your résumé updated to when you were employed or using open-ended dates (or leave them off). In the interview you can say "I was too busy to update the résumé" and then explain your work status.

"Never use the word 'laid-off' in a cover letter or résumé," he says. "In the interview, you mention you were 'riffed' or that the company had a reduction in force. That's good business speak."

Elizabeth Pope writes about work and retirement.

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