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Older And Younger Job Seekers Face Hurdles

By CityTownInfo.com Staff

March 10, 2009

Job-seekers of all ages are confronting more challenges in a competitive job market, with younger workers citing inexperience as their greatest obstacle to employment, and older workers contending with age discrimination and being overly qualified.

The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reports that younger workers are now competing with more experienced workers who lost their jobs or are returning to the workforce. Moreover, part-time jobs that normally were filled by teens are being taken by workers laid off from full-time jobs.

Phil King, 22, told the Tribune-Review that he has spent three months trying to find a job as a pharmacy technician. "I could get the job if I had the experience," he said. "No one's willing to give me a chance, so how do you get the experience?"

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, last year 38 percent of unemployed workers in Pennsylvania were between 16 and 24 years old. Moreover, according to Nicole Feldhues, director of Duquesne University's Career Services Center, a national survey indicated that employers expect to hire 22 percent fewer graduates this spring than last year.

Meanwhile, older Americans are concerned about competing against a much younger crowd for full-time positions. The San Francisco Chronicle reports that many baby boomers are seeing age discrimination as they hunt for new jobs.

"I get a lot of phony baloney excuses when I'm rejected," said Doug Horan, 62, who applied for more than 1,000 jobs in the past 18 months. "The bias against older workers is so pervasive."

He has two different resumes: one which lists all of his experience, and another that is shorter. He noted that it's always better to look less experienced than the person with whom you're interviewing.

Horan's situation reflects a growing trend: More retirees with depleted nest eggs find themselves compelled to return to the workforce, and more older Americans are being forced to work past retirement.

Tim Driver, who founded Retirementjobs.com, noted that his online career site for people over 50 has seen traffic nearly triple in the past few months. "The (economy) is driving the largest shift in the makeup of the workforce since women went to work en masse in the 1970s," he told the Chronicle.

The Omaha Channel [from an article originally located at http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/29536024/] and the Chronicle offered several tips to older job-seekers, including networking with friends and family, customizing resumes, and emphasizing capabilities rather than experience. But above all, said Michelle Dorner, a job specialist with the Eastern Nebraska Office on Aging, don't let your age affect you.

"If you perceive, 'I'm old, I'm not going to get a job. Nobody's going to hire me,' then companies aren't going to hire," she told The Omaha Channel.

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