For many older people who haven’t worked, six months is a tipping point – that moment when you really start to worry: Will I ever find a job again? Is there any chance that I will find a job that I love?
That’s how it is for Lillian Shupe, who found herself in her early 50s falling into a category no one ever wants to belong to: the long-term unemployed, defined by the government as people without a job for more than 27 weeks.
But Lillian wasn’t about to let that category define his. She was confident in her ability as a writer and journalist, able to get to the bottom of a story by doing her homework. So she decided to do her homework to find a job. And that’s where the AARP Foundation’s BACK TO WORK 50+ program comes into Lillian’s story.
Lillian had spent most of her career as a reporter for local syndicated newspapers in New Jersey and then Pennsylvania, before landing a gig with the monthly newspaper. Horse news — a job that satisfied his passion for animals and agriculture. “When I was a kid, I always thought I was born into the wrong family,” says Lillian, “because I should have been a farmer.” So Horse news was right up his alley.
But as the newspapers and magazines she worked for were sold, Lillian’s job was cut.
For a time, she “tried the entrepreneurial route and bought a franchise,” but it didn’t come naturally and she was barely getting by. “After two years, I was breaking even…and working 40 hours a week. My profit was around $1.67 per month which is not sustainable. »
Due to her skills as a writer, she tried freelancing while still looking for something full time. She tried job search tools, a recruiter, and browsed a whole bunch of websites. “Then the pandemic hit,” she says, “which made it even harder to get any kind of freelance work.”
She had resisted posting her job search on social media, but eventually shared that she was looking for work. And that’s when a promotion for the AARP BACK TO WORK 50+ Foundation popped up in her feed. ” And that ? ” she says.
She signed up for the free webinar, then the workshop, and she started customizing her resume to the particular jobs she was applying for. She had learned the importance of personalization but hadn’t quite understood how to go about it. The BACK TO WORK 50+ program showed him exactly how to do it, with the invaluable help of two job search coaches, William Craig and Lynden Kidd. And that made all the difference.
“One day we could talk about how to do your LinkedIn, how to do the resume, every week with a different topic,” she recalls. “A few times we did hands-on interviews with some of the other attendees.” In Lillian’s mind, coaching was the key to her eventual success. “You can ask them any question, and they have the answers. And they are both great fun!
Through networking with William and Lynden, she connected with the National Older Workers Career Center and, through NOWCC, landed a full-time position in public relations with the Natural Resources Conservation Service. Once again, she works in a field that corresponds to two of her passions: writing and nature.
Part of his new job is writing stories about farmers who have adopted conservation techniques, stories of their successes. Along the way, she wrote her own back-to-work success story.
Lillian now belongs to a much happier group of seniors: those who have found their way back to work. She gives a lot of credit to BACK TO WORK 50+ and its two wonderful trainers. The networking they helped her with “was huge, but also being able to ask questions and know you’re not alone in this mess.”
Lillian spread the word about RETURN TO WORK 50+ in her own networks. “I’ve already recommended the program probably 100 times,” she says. “And William and Lynden were so great to work with. After looking for a job for so long, it was hard to stay positive. They helped me regain my self-confidence. »
Click the button below to register for a free workshop with virtual interview tips, supportive coaching, and a job seeker guide hosted by the AARP Foundation or by a community partner in your area.