- Keep your skills current. Computer skills are especially important. Depending on what type of job you seek, be sure you are savvy on the Internet and with Windows-based programs, such as word-processing, spreadsheet, database, and presentation applications. Microsoft offers training programs though such organizations such as the AARP.
- If you've been downsized, look for new work as soon as you can. The longer you're out of work, the harder it will be to land a new position.
- Seek out companies that embrace older workers: The CVS drugstore chain is one example.
- Networking is especially important for older workers because jobs at the senior levels are the least likely to be advertised. It's important to fight the perception that your skills and knowledge might not be on the cutting edge. Stay up to date with technological trends and be sure to demonstrate your savvy when you converse with network contacts.
- Use networking venues as opportunities to show what you can do. Get involved with professional associations, volunteering or consulting. Perhaps join the board of a professional association and then work to demonstrate your skills to the membership. Or seek a consulting or volunteer role that will afford the opportunity to achieve measurable results and will enable you to build relationships with a wider network of people. As you become perceived as a valuable team member, your age will seem less relevant.
- Broaden your pool of targeted employers.
- Consider starting your own business -- and in the ultimate twist -- think about starting a business that targets other older workers as customers or employees.
- If you're retired and already have a pension and health benefits from your old employer, consider working for salary only. If being productive means more to you than additional benefits, consider companies with programs in which workers in their 50's who would otherwise take advantage of early retirement provisions in their pensions are offered the chance to work reduced hours and supplement their reduced incomes by tapping those pensions.
- Consider flexible options that may be advantageous to both you and the employer, such as a compressed work week, flextime, job reassignment, job redesign, part-time work, job sharing, phased retirement, or telecommuting.
- Consider offering to put in odd hours that younger workers with family obligations might not be able to work.
- Register with a temp agency so you can generate some income, update your skills, and build your resume while waiting for the perfect job. Some temp agencies even specialize in older workers.
- Locate programs that help with job training and employability skills for older workers.
- When all else fails, consider legal recourse.
"If the pink slip doesn't fit,