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Turn Prior Experiences into Current Capabilities

Turn Prior Experiences into Current Capabilities

Dan Woog, Monster Contributing Writer

After three decades as a radio engineer, a 50-plus woman suddenly finds herself downsized. With the radio industry in a tailspin, what are her prospects for continuing the work she loves?

Pretty good — if she repositions her skills and reinvents her experience as relevant to employers seeking engineers knowledgeable about podcasts and MP3 downloads.

Is she alone in worrying about how to keep working? Hardly.

Older Workers Face Many Barriers

According to Linda Wiener, expert on Monster’s Age Issues forum and a workforce consultant specializing in issues related to older workers, “This is huge. I see more ageism in employment now than in the past 20 years.” But Wiener adds, “I don’t know if there will be a worker shortage in the future, but there definitely will be a skills shortage.”

A 2005 study by the Center for Retirement Research at Boston College found that younger workers were 40 percent more likely to be called for interviews than those 50 or older. In fiscal year 2008, the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission fielded 24,582 charges of age discrimination and collected nearly $83 million in settlements.

Part of that bias lies with an increasingly younger corps of human resources personnel and hiring managers who, in the words of Granny @ Work editor Karen Riggs, “may have concerns about the ability and inclination of older people to perform.”

Unleash Your Curiosity

However, Riggs — an older Baby Boomer herself — says that her generation has many ways to show potential employers they are more than up to the task. “Unleash your curiosity,” Riggs advises. “Roll up your sleeves. Poke around the computer to learn more skills. Pay attention to the technology your kids are using, and learn from them.”