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August, 2010

Mature Worker Strategies

In this Issue:

Illinois YES (Youth Employment for the Summer) program

YES BannerEarn money through September 30th, and get work experience!

The Illinois YES (Youth Employment for the Summer) program provides temporary work, through September 30th, for eligible young adults who are:
  • 16-24 years old,
  • unemployed and underemployed,
  • low-income parents and young adults

If you are looking for hands-on work experience, the YES program is an excellent employment opportunity!

Benefits offered by Illinois YES include:

  • 30 - 40 hours of work per week: When youth go back to school, they can drop down to the number of hours per week that meets their needs/schedule, if not able to meet the 30 hour work week requirement - as authorized by the Department of Human Services (DHS). Typical wages and youth employment information
  • Connections with employers looking for workers
  • Additional career experience and job skills
  • Participants may be eligible for additional support services and have access to child care which is provided through Child Care Resource and Referral (CCR&R).

Click here to learn more about eligibility information and how to apply for the Youth Employment for the Summer program.

Strategies that Assist Mature Workers Get or Keep the Jobs They Want

Mature Job SeekerFew workers are immune to the concern of losing a job. No longer can seasoned workers be assured of life-long employment with one company. Staying current, upgrading skills, and presenting a positive attitude are your best strategies for keeping or getting jobs in a tightly competitive market.

ScienceDaily External link opens in a new window (Mar. 18, 2010) reports “researchers found that job insecurity increased the chance of harmful effects for a sample of older workers in Cook County, IL.” Fear of unemployment is not irrational given Bureau of Labor statistics. The New York Times External link opens in a new window reports that “workers ages 45 and over form a disproportionate share of …those who have been out of work for six months or longer.”

Not all employment news is gloom and doom for older workers. A Chicago outplacement firm, Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc.(PDF), reports an interesting finding. Even though unemployed older workers are remaining unemployed longer, because of the “ongoing demand for experienced workers, those 55 and older represent the only segment of the population to experience net employment gains over the past year” and the lowest unemployment rate “among all of the age groups.”

The following strategies will improve the probability of a seasoned worker keeping a job:

  • Upgrade skills (especially computer skills) and ask for ways to use these skills to benefit the company. Most community colleges offer adult learning classes at a minimal cost.
  • Willingly take offered training and accept new job challenges.
  • Maintain healthful living. Companies often look for ways to dump employees who drive up health insurance rates due to excessive illness. This is especially true in a small company where one worker with catastrophic health concerns may cause premiums for all workers to skyrocket.
  • Do not grumble and complain to coworkers. There is no such thing as a private workplace conversation.

Finding a job may be difficult for workers of any age, but some challenges are unique to older workers. To help overcome these challenges, Illinois workNet can assist in many aspects of skills evaluation and job searches. Here are some tips to increase chances of receiving a job offer: Take a class or sign up for workshops. This shows you are staying current.

  • Blog on topics related to your career field. This showcases your expertise and electronic communication skills. Read “Social Media and the Job-Seeker” for more information on blogging.
  • Find ways to network professionally, either online or through trade associations.
  • Get help with updating and refining your resume.
  • Omit all but the last 15-20 years of employment history on resume unless it is pertinent to the specific job for which you are applying. A job you held in the 1970s may seem like ancient history to a young human resources director.
  • Include personal interests that show your vigor or sense of adventure.
  • Show computer savvy in looking for a job and posting your resume.
  • Ask a young professional to help you select interviewing attire. A suit you wore to a job interview ten years ago may not be your best choice.


Update Your Resume

Update Your ResumeMature workers have many attributes and characteristics that make them attractive job applicants and great employees. Older workers who wish to re-enter the job market might want to refocus and refresh their resumes.

For example, job goals will differ from earlier employments, and new goals should be reflected in an updated resume. When updating your resume, it is important to emphasize skills rather than just the jobs previously held. Only the latest and most pertinent experiences need to be listed to avoid an overly long and boring resume.

Watch the "Mature Worker Resume Writing Tips" video to learn tips for refreshing and refocusing your resume as you re-enter the job market. 

Use the Resume Builder, on Illinois workNet, to write a new resume, or "copy and paste" text from an existing resume, and create a professional looking document. Resumes can be stored online in your "My Illinois workNet account" and are accessible from any computer with internet access and a web browser. Resumes you create using Resume Builder can be saved, downloaded, printed or emailed to prospective employers. Click here to see more resume videos that will show you step by step how to create a resume using the Resume Builder.

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