Job Search Strategies for Over-50 “99ers”

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You’re over 50 and have been out of work for over 99 weeks. Many employers regard you as washed out, over the hill, essentially unemployable. You’re at the end of your rope and despair is sinking in. Nothing you’ve tried seems to work in getting a sales job—any sales job.


Sadly, when 99ers finally do get a job, they drop from high-5 and low-6 figure professional positions to jobs just above minimum wage. Fortunately, there are those who sympathize with you—and more importantly, can help you. One such organization, known as "Platform to Employment" offers help and hope.


"If someone is out of work for a while, the perception from employers is that there must be something wrong with you, and after a couple of years the people themselves begin to believe they don't have any value, that it's over for them," said Joe Carbone, who created Platform to Employment, a five-week program that retrains "99ers" in eight-week internships with the goal of finding gainful employment. The public-private partnership gives employers a risk-free opportunity to evaluate and consider hiring 99ers during an eight-week work experience program. Wages are subsidized with private investment funds and 99ers can demonstrate they have the skills, ability and drive to compete in the global marketplace. Platform to Employment offers three tiers of critical assistance:


Tier One – Job Readiness. Coaching, workshops and hands-on training to hone necessary job skills.


Tier Two – Emotional Readiness. Counseling and behavioral health services to manage stress and build confidence.


Tier Three – 8 Week Work Experience. The worker’s first eight weeks on the job are subsidized. Employers offer a critical opportunity, hope, and a chance to evaluate a new population of job-ready applicants.


Many of today’s over-50 99ers are discouraged and living on the edge, drawing on savings and losing faith in the job market. Operation ABLE is another place these 99ers can go for help in finding work.


"It's not new that older workers have a more challenging time," said Joan Cirillo, president of Operation ABLE, the Boston-based nonprofit that focuses on finding work for older workers. "There are a lot of pre-retirees who would have liked to retire but lost a big portion of their portfolio," she said. "And those who don't find anything wind up living a limited life, tapping into their 401k and many then becoming discouraged workers."


Like Platform to Employment, ABLE’s Midternships allow employers to try out professional, experienced workers as a potential employee, risk free. Out of work seniors acquire valuable, short-term experience and an opportunity to show their potential. It’s a great way to add new skills and current OJT to your resume.


If you’re an over-50, 99er, don’t lose hope. There are things you can do to find a job, and employers who value your experience and maturity.


Image courtesy of photostock/



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  • Joseph F
    Joseph F
    Good informative article. This is also helpful for those over 45 who are in the same category, NOT just for people over 50.
  • Karona C
    Karona C
    Yes!  I am one of the victims of this non-hiring in 99 weeks.  I will be looking for some hopeful feed back concerning this matter?  Thank you for the F.Y.I.
  • Kathryn B
    Kathryn B
    I think this is an awesome idea and really commend you for supporting such an awesome effort to help those whom the world seems to have left behind.  I am very interested in participating.
  • Ralph E
    Ralph E
    Very informational article. It found me at a very dis-spirted time about employment. How can i receive more information on finding work at over fifty.
  • Mary W
    Mary W
  • Rodney L
    Rodney L
    I agree with you, and would like to know how to get started. I know I can do the job! I still have a lot to offer.
  • Nicholas M
    Nicholas M
    Good to know there are employers who appreciate the work ethic and experience offered by a 50-something candidate.
  • John B
    John B
    It appears that the philosophy of employment has shifted to "part time workers" due to the burden of Obamacare for full time employ.  Also, to take on an older employee means a shorter window of Corporate ROI for the training since the over 50 group is closer to retirement.  By the time they're fully vested, they can leave, much to the disadvantage of the Company. Finally, the taxation burden and reduced demand on goods and services appears to require smaller and more efficient work forces.If I'm wrong about these three points, please justify.
  • Stanley P
    Stanley P
    I agree! I am getting pretty down.
  • David Z
    David Z
    I would like to learn more on the program. Atlanta area.
  • Laura D
    Laura D
    I was interested to read your article as I am not quite 50 but have documented sales success and can't even get a "sniff!!!" Talk about discouraging and financially devastating. I am there now and have been for well over a year and the " beat down " has been rough on even the most confident of people.Laura
  • Rick A
    Rick A
    Is there an ABLE community for Kentucky? All I saw on the websitee were Massachusetts success stories.
  • Neva D
    Neva D
    Fender FMIC just closed our Charleston,SC office May 24th 2013.I have to much energy to be unemployed!You have a great program.
  • Carol B
    Carol B
    Thanks for the insight. I am hopeful of finding employment, as I have been a full-time student since my position was discontinued in March 2012, and have one full-time quarter left.

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