Top 10 Tips for Older Job Hunters

Thanks to their seniority, folks 55 and older were once less likely than their younger co-workers to be laid off during a recession. Not this time around. Steep manufacturing cuts have hit older workers particularly hard. And even in workplaces where seniority still provides protection, older men have less of it than they used to; only 44% of male workers aged 58 to 62 work for the same employer they were with at age 50, down from 70% 25 years ago.

Here are some tips for older layoff victims.

No. 1: Keep Your Health Insurance

If you have employer-provided health insurance, use “COBRA”–a federal provision that lets you continue in your ex-employer’s plan, but without an employer subsidy. It was always essential to stay insured, and now it’s affordable too. Under the stimulus package passed in February, the feds will pick up 65% of your COBRA premium for nine months. Warning: If your adjusted gross income is more than $250,000 for a couple or $125,000 for an individual, you’ll have to pay some or all of the federal subsidy back when you file your tax return.

No. 2: Consider Americorps

If you don’t need too much income and would like to do work such as tutoring, consider Americorps. A law President Obama signed in April slowly increases the number of federally funded Americorps slots from 75,000 to 250,000 and aims to fill 10% of them with folks 55 and older. The jobs pay minimum wage plus a $4,725 education grant (increasing to $5,350 Oct. 1) for each year worked. Under the new law, this grant can be transferred to children or grandchildren. Another senior-friendly change: Americorps slots used to be full-time jobs lasting a maximum of two years. Now they can be turned into part-time jobs lasting longer.

No. 3: Find Senior-Friendly Employers Online

At, you’ll find 20,000 listings from employers that say they’re open to applications from older workers. AARP, the 40-million member organization for folks 50 and older, lists 41 companies, from AT&T to Walgreens, that have won spots on its “National Employer Team” and links to those employers’ job sites at

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      1. Anonymous

        I found this article informative, and helpful to bring up new ideas for older job seekers. While I am unemployed, I did not realize the topics discussed on certain agencies and areas of financial planning coordinate with those looking to work. Setting goals for being prepared and knowing more on where to get organized can assist a person person to present their best assets for employers.- jenia

      2. let's re-title this "Top 10 Tips for People We Would Like to Put Out To Pasture." This assumes that most people 55 and over are ready to take a volunteer job, be classified a senior citizen, and give up. Advice about not tapping a retirement account and keeping health care is obvious, and doesn't really help anyone market themselves to an employer. Would anyone write this kind

      3. Anonymous

        I found the article informative but lacking in some details about maintaining medical coverage under COBRA. I was laid off from a company of four people. In order to qualify under COBRA, the company has to have a minimum twenty employees. <br />I will be paying my own expensive medical coverage shortly with no help from the state or federal government.

        • Anonymous

          The writer of this comment points out one of the big drawbacks of working for a small business. Small businesses (under 20 employees).don&#39;t need to follow anti-age discrimination, healthcare privacy protection or provide COBRA continuation coverage. Leaves a lot of put population without these important protections!

        • Anonymous

          This blog may be a few years old. I was laid off in<br />august 2012 and have been paying huge Cobra premiums each month. My company has 1000+ employees. Since when does the government pick up 65% of the Cobra premium? Everyone I know who has been laid off is paying out a ton on Cobra premiums.

      4. Anonymous

        If you start to collect Social Security before your full retirement age you certainly can pay it all back. However, you have a maximum time limit of 90 days from the day your suspend your claim to return ALL of the money paid out. Otherwise, after 90 days and no repayment, your claim is automatically restarted.

      5. Thanks for the information on AmeriCorps. There seems to be more for the senior worker than I thought.<br /><br />Mind if I use this article for my blog? The Job Swami Career Advice Site?<br /><br />Bill Morgan<br />The Job Swami Career Advice Site<br />

      6. I am 50 plus and last year left my job voluntarily because of health problems. <br /><br />Now that I am as fit as any fiddler&#39;s fiddle, thar just ain&#39;t no-one interested other than the &quot;would you like fries with that?&quot; type of jobs. <br /><br />So I have started up a Virtual Assistance enterprise. People who need experience but can&#39;t afford full-time communications help,

      7. Anonymous

        These options are great and I would love to take advantage of almost any of them. However, I need the income of a full time position for the next ten years or so.

      8. Anonymous

        This was a valuable article and a good read. I agree it is important to have a great resume and cover letter that highlights your qualifications. I&#39;ve used for my resume and was very pleased with the results. The price was fair too. Thanks,

      9. Anonymous

        I read the beginning of the article and, like so many, I started reading the comments. Yes, at 65 I do feel like I&#39;ve been &quot;put out to pasture&quot;. This is not only ego shattering, but it makes me REALLY feel old. I am seeking a recruiting position in Central Florida. All these jobs are being taken by 22-32 year olds. I&#39;m trying to start a resume building business….marketing

      10. Anonymous

        This appears to be an old post that is recirculating because I am unaware of any government subsidies for COBRA in 2012. Does anyone know if there is any government help I am missing?

      11. Anonymous

        It&#39;s all about the strength of your resume and distributing it to employers that are looking for your skills. It also helps to maintain your health so your age is not so evident. Find a coach that can give you tips on interview skills so you can present yourself well after your resume gets you an interview.

      12. Informative article and interesting comments. Those of us without higher education, degrees and the like…face an even bigger challenge in the job/career market, imo and experience. I am fortunate to prefer working for myself. To be entrepreneurial on a tight budget excites the heck out of me! Good thing it does…because without that drive and some start up capital I would, frankly, be screwed.

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