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AARP offers job search pointers to help seniors find their dream job

New Hampshire Union Leader

May 13. 2017 6:07PM
Jon Batres (standing) gives a presentation during a AARP workshop about searching for a job in the digital age. (DAVID LANE/UNION LEADER)

In December 2014, Shirley Lambert of Epsom was ready to retire from Northeast Delta Dental in Concord, a company she called “the best I’ve ever worked for.”

So when she got the call in January asking her to come back to help with a backlog of claims, the 68-year-old jumped. She worked with human resources to set up a flexible schedule, picked the days she wanted to work, and tailored her job description to one specific duty. Next month, she will stop work to return to her summer job as “Grandma’s taxi,” driving her two grandsons to where they need to be so their parents can work.

“It’s really great,” she said. “I can go out and get some socialization and have flexibility.”

There are plenty of Shirley Lamberts in New Hampshire. According to labor analyst John Dorrer, almost a quarter of all New Hampshire hirees in 2015 were 65 or older.

But getting back into the workforce can be daunting for the silver set.

AARP New Hampshire recently held a workshop for members on how to find a job in the digital age. Each participant was handed an iPad, looked at job search engines, learned to use social networking sites like LinkedIn, and shown ways to age-proof their resume.

Jon Batres led the group and started by asking the 25 people in the room what brought them there. One person said he had been laid off twice in two years, another was looking for a change, another was retired and looking for something to do. Batres said these are common answers he sees as he travels the country leading these workshops.

But he did say New Hampshire is unique. He said in places like Boston, 30 may register for the workshop and half will show up. In New Hampshire, he finds 30 will register and almost all will show up plus a few more.

Batres said age-proofing a resume is one of the best ways older workers can get an edge while job seeking. He suggested only using the last 15 years of experience and removing anything that may identify one’s age, such as years of graduation.

He also teaches about using keywords that resume scanning services may use to match a person with a job, and matching the wording of one’s resume directly with words used in job descriptions.

“The keywords were really helpful,” Douglas said. “I do feel better about going out there now.”

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