Finding a job isn’t easy in this economy – and it can seem daunting when you’re 50 and older – but it is possible for those who market their strengths. That was the message of the recent Workshop for Jobseekers Age 50 and Older, hosted by AARP Wyoming in Cheyenne.
More than 80 people packed a meeting room at the Laramie County Public Library to hear tips from the Wyoming Department of Workforce Services, the Wyoming Business Council, Serve Wyoming and the Wyoming Department of Administration and Information.
One of the people who attended was Kim Andrews, 54, of Laramie. As a science teacher and medical technologist, Andrews has experience in education and medical professions but has been looking for a job for about three years.
“I’m proud of those years,” said Andrews. “I’ve done a lot, and I think I have a lot to offer. It’s just a matter of making other people aware of that.”
Statewide, interest has been high in job seeking workshops, said Les Engelter, immediate past president of AARP Wyoming.
“We realize (people 50 years old and older) have great job skills. For the most part, they’re really reliable people,” he said. “I don’t think employers are aware of how valuable these people could be. There are so many great benefits if you can make the right match.”
Many are willing to work flexible schedules, which may benefit employers, Engelter said. Job sharing can be of tremendous benefit to the employer while also meeting the needs of employees, he added.
Kathleen Mineo is human resources manager at Cheyenne Regional Medical Center and was a panelist in the Cheyenne workshop. She said a positive attitude is worth a lot.
“Remember we have so much experience and bring so much good to what we do,” she said. “Do the interview and fill out the application with that attitude.”
Many people who attended told Mineo that the biggest challenge they face is being considered overqualified.
“The minute somebody looked at the application and the person was applying for a lesser job, they’d be immediately eliminated,” she said people told her. In such instances, additional information that may not be applicable can be left off an application, she said.
“My resume contains only about half of what I’ve done,” said Ray Gamel, who attended the conference with his wife Uschi.
Their wealth of experience and knowledge puts seniors in a good position to start their own businesses, according to Brandon Marshall, Business and Entrepreneurial Development Program Manager of the Wyoming Business Council. Services are available to those who need help getting their enterprises off the ground, he said.
Entrepreneurs can receive help with business and marketing plans from the Wyoming Small Business Development Center. The Wyoming Market Research Center provides free demographic data, the Wyoming Research Products Center helps inventors find patent attorneys and the Wyoming Women’s Business Center makes loans for higher risk ventures.