Dear Savvy Senior: What resources can you recommend to help older job seekers? I'm 62 and have been out of work for nearly a year now and need some help.
-- Looking For Work
Dear Looking: While the U.S. job market has improved slightly over the past year or so, challenges persist for many older job seekers. Fortunately, there are a number of free online tools and in-person training centers scattered across the country today that can help you find employment. Here's what you should know.
If you have Internet access, there are a number of 50-and-older online employment networks that can help you connect with companies that are interested in hiring older workers.
Two of the best are Workreimagined.org, a resource developed by AARP that combines career advice, job listings and online discussion tied to LinkedIn's professional networking platform, and Retirementjobs.com, which offers a job search engine that lists thousands of jobs nationwide from companies that are actively seeking workers over the age of 50. It also provides job-seeking tips and advice, helps with resume writing and allows you to post your resume online for companies to find you.
Another good place to get help finding a job is at a Career One-Stop center. Sponsored by the U.S. Department of Labor, these are free job resource centers that can help you explore career options, search for jobs, find training, write a resume, prepare for an interview and much more. There are around 3,000 of these centers located throughout the country. To find one near you, call 877-348-0502.
Depending on your financial situation, another program that may help is the Senior Community Service Employment Program (SCSEP). Also sponsored by the Department of Labor, SCSEP offers access to training and part time job placements in a wide variety of community service positions such as day care centers, senior centers, governmental agencies, schools, hospitals, libraries and landscaping centers. To qualify, participants must be over 55, unemployed and have poor employment prospects. To learn more or locate a program in your area visit their website or call 877-872-5627.
Work at Home
If you're interested in working at home, there are many opportunities depending on your skills, but be careful of rampant work-at-home scams that offer big paydays without much effort.
Some of the more popular work-at-home jobs include customer service agents who fields calls from their employers' customers and prospective customers -- you don't place telemarketing calls. Agents earn an average of $8 to $15 an hour and many also receive incentives and commission, too. To find these jobs see Arise.com, Alpineaccess.com, Liveops.com and Workingsolutions.com.
If you have good typing skills there are transcriptionist jobs that pay around $10 per hour for typing verbatim accounts of board meetings, presentations, conference calls, etc. Companies that hire transcriptionists are Tigerfish, Ubiqus, Cambridge Transcription.
And if you have a college degree, online tutoring or proofreading jobs are always available. See Tutor.com to find tutoring opportunities which pay between $10 and $15 per hour. Or, if you have some writing or editing experience, proofreading pays $12 to $20 per hour. See FirstEditing.com and Cactus to look for proofreading jobs.
For more work at home ideas and resources, see Retired Brains and click on the "Work from Home" tab on the left side of the page.
Start a Business
If you're interested in starting a small business but could use some help getting started, the U.S. Small Business Administration offers tips, tools and free online courses that you can access at sba.gov.
Send your senior questions to: Savvy Senior, P.O. Box 5443, Norman, OK 73070, or visit SavvySenior.org. Jim Miller is a contributor to the NBC Today show and author of The Savvy Senior book.