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Older job seekers should promote skills, not titles

Q.I worked in security management for nearly 40 years. I am now 65. Last year, after working 14 years in the global pharmaceutical industry and 19 in health care, I found myself on the “beach.’’ I am now taking a certificate course at Penn State grad school. I would like to work more. Any hope or suggestions?

A. There is still hope, and you are not alone. A growing number of people over the age of 65 are continuing to work or look for work.

Your resume needs to show your experience, but eliminate extraneous details from your earliest jobs. Show progression, flexibility, and additional responsibility added to your roles. Make sure you have a current e-mail address, and do not list a fax number. These are telltale clues to hiring managers about your familiarity with technology.

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Most important, in both your resume and networking, focus on the skills that you want to use on the job - not titles. With a security background the summary section of your resume might include “exceptional communication skills, consultative approach, ability to anticipate and prevent security issues.’’

There are many websites available to senior job hunters. Some of these sites list jobs:,, and

Other sites offer job search tips, suggestions for resume development, and interviewing answers -, for example. Follow the tips in terms of attire and showing comfort with technology.

Targeting the right opportunities and people with whom to network is the most effective job search method. Don’t wait for a job listing to be posted. Follow your contacts in the security industry into as many different organizations as possible.

Target tangential industries that would appreciate your experience. Have you considered higher education - a medical school perhaps? Consider companies that consulted with your former employers. Let people know about your flexibility in terms of availability.

You might offer interest in project work. Anything you can do to connect on a part-time basis may lead to a longer term relationship, and more hours.

Elaine Varelas is managing partner at Keystone Partners, a career management firm in Boston and serves on the board of Career Partners International.
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