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Florida’s Tight Job Market Requires Strategy and Diligence

En español | When Ann Tindall, 61, lost her job as a clinical coordinator with a medical contracting firm in Leesburg, FL, she never dreamed that finding another one would be so hard. After all, she has good references as well as solid experience from her nearly 40-year career.  

“It’s a whole new ballgame out there,” says Tindall, who began her first job the day after her 21st birthday. “The Internet has certainly changed the way I apply for jobs. Resumes have to stand out because so many people are applying for the same positions, and prospective employers don't have time for the initial face-to-face contact that my generation remembers.”

With 1 in 5 Floridians over age 55 looking for work, Tindall is not alone in her quest to find meaningful employment in a state that had an overall 11.7 unemployment rate in August, according to the Florida Agency for Workforce Development www.floridajobs.org.

A multitude of resources are available to help 50+ workers navigate their way through job losses and career changes, including Job Tips for 50+Workers. The helpful hints include how to write winning resumes, how to handle tough interview questions, and how to quash the “overqualified” label that haunts many experienced workers.

In addition, a new online job-hunting service powered by Indeed.com debuted in September. Job seekers can use the free AARP search engine to look for jobs by state, ZIP code, industry, occupation and title.

As most successful job applicants will tell you, networking is critical to finding new positions and for keeping spirits up. Throughout 2010, AARP has hosted a series of career fairs with national and local employers. The Helping Experience Work@50+ events have not only provided job search assistance to older job seekers but also have offered tools and resources, including a workshop called "The Power of Promoting Yourself at 50+." The next Florida career fair is scheduled for Oct. 19 at the Museum of Science and Industry in Tampa.  

AARP also offers several online networking groups geared for 50+ workers. At the “Water Cooler,” users can share advice about finding jobs, jump-starting careers, and returning to work after retiring. The “Downsized” online community group offers inspiring stories and tips from job-loss survivors.

“The hardest part is getting past the discouragement, especially when an employer doesn’t respond at all after you've applied,” says Tindall. She works as a contractor on as an-needed basis for a professional testing service while she looks for full-time employment.

“You just keep on applying and talking to friends and acquaintances," she says. "Sooner or later something will come along.”

Learn more about career tools and resources online.

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