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Ask Sue
A Weekly Q&A Column About Professionalism, Etiquette and Problems in the Workplace
by Sue Morem

Finding a Job After 50

Dear Sue: I am approaching 50 and have been unemployed for several months. I am beginning to think I may never find the type of job I want. I never thought I’d be unemployable at my age, but it is difficult for people my age to get and keep a job. What can I do?

- Older, wiser, and unemployed

Sue Says: Age affects all of us. There is no “perfect” age and no better time than the present to accept the age you are and use it to your advantage. With age comes wisdom and experience; something difficult for younger people to obtain.

The best way to explore new opportunities is by being open to change, willing to take risks, and to view your job search as an exciting adventure. You’ll either get better with age or you won’t—it’s up to you. However, if you are competing against younger job candidates, do what you can to remain competitive. The following will get you off to a good start:

Be flexible: Be open to new ways of doing things. Take chances, do something bold; say “yes” when your resistance is high and you want to say “no.” Be willing to learn from those who are younger as well as those who are older than you. Be the kind of person who will do whatever it takes to get a job and to get a job well done.

Reinvent yourself. Try something new; pursue new hobby, take a class, reach out to others. Approach your life and your job search in ways you haven’t considered before.

Update your skills. Stay current and knowledgeable about the trends and changes in your field—don’t rest on your past laurels. Be knowledgeable of the latest buzz, new technologies and best practices. When you meet with potential employers demonstrate how your skills and accomplishments can contribute to the company’s bottom line today and in the future.

Ask for help. You’re never too old to ask others for help. Let your guard down; no one expects you to have all the answers--you can learn from others. Your humility will be one of your greatest assets. Ask questions, ask for advice, and ask for opportunities you seek. You won’t get the answer (or job) you want unless you ask for it.

Connect with people. Inform everyone you know of your job status; you never know who might connect you with someone who is looking to hire an employee just like you. There are numerous ways to connect with people and people are your greatest asset when it comes to making introductions and connections with others.

Get a makeover. You’ve seen it in magazines and on television; dramatic makeovers that transform people and change their lives. If you’ve thought about dying your hair or changing the style, now’s the time to do it. Update your wardrobe; it can be as simple as adding a colorful scarf or tie to the suit you already own. Updating your image can take years off your appearance and help you feel better about yourself -- and your age.

Be optimistic. It may take more time than you’d like, but there is a job out there for you. You can find plenty of information to reinforce the challenges of older workers, but if you look for it, you will find plenty of positive information too. Focus on the positive and see what a difference being optimistic can make.

Sue Morem is a professional speaker, trainer and syndicated columnist. She is author of the newly released 101 Tips for Graduates and How to Gain the Professional Edge, Second Edition. You can contact her by email at or visit her web site at

Send Sue your questions by clicking here: Ask Sue
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