Selasa, 10 Agustus 2010

When Young and Old Compete for Jobs, Who Wins?

When Young and Old Compete for Jobs, Who Wins?
by Maria Hanson, for LiveCareer

When economic woes hit, it's often the older workers who suffer most. But this recession is proving to be different. Figures from the Bureau of Labor Statistics show that younger workers are getting the ax while older workers are more likely to keep their jobs. And many jobs that would traditionally go to younger, less-experienced workers are getting swiped up by seniors who are coming out of retirement because their nest eggs have disappeared.

Last summer, the employment rate for teens was the lowest it's been in 60 years. Meanwhile the employment rate for those over 55 had actually increased almost 5 percent. The trend appears to be continuing for the upcoming summer job market, with competition for top jobs stiffer than ever.

Why the Change?

Experts say many companies have learned the hard way that hiring only cheaper, less-experienced workers or eliminating those with most experience isn't necessarily a wise move.

"They've seen that the short-term savings of laying off the most knowledgeable, productive, and experienced workers is not worth the long-term impacts," says David DeLong, author of "Lost Knowledge: Confronting the Threat of an Aging Workplace."

The Benefits of Hiring Experienced Workers

Older workers are in luck because these days more companies are seeing the benefits of hiring those with some years under their belt. "People are in their prime in their 50s and 60s," says Stephen M. Wing, director of workforce initiatives for CVS/pharmacy, which has won many awards for its hiring and treatment of older workers. "Their life experience is invaluable."

Among the traits Wing says the older workers embody: "They're very loyal employees. They work hard. They've got good social skills. They're dependable. They want to be there."

Job-Search Lessons for All Generations

Whatever your age, there are lessons to be learned from this new dynamic that can help you get the job you want:

* Play up your experience. In the past, workers with decades of experience were encouraged to downplay this on their resumes. While you don't want a long resume padded with irrelevant information, don't cut out significant experience just to avoid seeming overqualified or for fear of age discrimination.

Make sure you have a job-winning resume that emphasizes all of your relevant skills and experience.

* Focus on your soft skills. If you don't have much work experience, emphasize personal skills and traits that employees find valuable, like dependability, people skills, and a good work ethic. You can highlight these soft skills in a summary of qualifications at the top of your resume and call them out in your cover letter and during an interview.

A career test can help you to identify your particular skills of value.

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