AARP Helps Unemployed Spice Up Marketability

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If you’ve been out of work and searching for a job lately, you know it’s tough. If you’re fifty and older trying to find work, you may have experienced even more challenges. WOSU reports AARP Ohio held a seminar to help make looking for employment easier.

Bill Bundrum walks from table to table speaking with various company representatives about what jobs are available. Bundrum has been looking for work for about three months. After many years in restaurant and retail management, he hopes to switch careers. Bundrum’s also waiting for the one o’clock job seminar from AARP Ohio for people over 50.

“It’s always good to refresh your resume, refresh your skill sets. I’m looking into taking a few courses online in order to just beef up my resume and give it a fresh look,” Bundrum said.

Bundrum is one of about 5.8 million around the country who’s over 50 and out of work. So he’ll want to be as competitive as possible.

And the AARP class hopes to show seniors how to do just that. Michael Barnhart coordinated the seminar. He said it will address how the job market has changed over the years.

“Everything is done on the Internet today. You have to apply on the Internet. You have to learn how to present yourself in a very quick and easy manner. We’re trying to help them develop what we call a personal brand,” Barnhart said.

Barnhart said learning how to use a computer or update a resume are fairly easy to learn. But letting go of some generational attributes – like not talking about one’s accomplishments – will be more difficult.

“So they have to make a paradigm shift, and knowing who they are, which many of them do, but they won’t say it. We talked to one lady who said you know I was raised not to speak about those kinds of things. That’s part of their generation. They have to unlearn some things, and then learn how to appropriate do that,” he said.

Barnhart said the seminar also addresses attitude. He said some older people will find it hard report to younger bosses.

“My mind says wait a minute; I was doing that before you were born. You can’t go there. You cannot do that. So you have to be in a position where you can say OK I can learn from you. You’re young, you’ve got some experiences I don’t have so help me out. And then you present that kind of an attitude that says I’m still a learner even though I have all this experience I can still learn,” Barnhart said.

Carl Morrow is 63 years old and from Columbus’ west side. He’s been looking for work for more than a year. Morrow said the class helped him find a new approach to marketing his skills.

“Keying in on my strengths more so than what I’ve been doing, even though I have quite a few accomplishments, just putting myself out there in a different way,” he said.

Sharon Campbell from Westerville, who is 57, also attended the seminar. She’s been out of work for about six months. Campbell said she learned how to put together an elevator speech.

“In 15 seconds to 45 seconds what is your brand, what can you offer to that person, to that organization to heighten their interest so they actually want to talk to you,” Campbell said. Campbell, who was in the health care industry, is not letting the job market get her down.

“I’m enjoying this job search and this will be short-lived and I will soon have a position. That’s my goal,” she said.