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Frequently Asked Questions for Older & Returning Adult Students

Do employers want to hire people over the age of 50?

Experience matters. Older workers have good leadership skills and a strong work ethic, they’re focused and loyal, and they have strong networks. If a person has worked in a role where they have been responsible for working with customers and keeping them happy, they can perform that role in any career. Employers are looking for people who can do the job the best; age does not play nearly as much of a factor as a person’s abilities do. In May 2015, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that the unemployment rate for people over 55 was 3.7% — that’s lower than the overall rate of 5.5%.

Is it too late to learn a new trade?

You already have a lot more of the skills you’ll need in your new career than you may think. Reviewing the list of crossover skills can be a great way to boost confidence as you set out to learn whatever remaining skills you need to conquer. For instance, some teachers who leave the classroom for the business world find that they are a lot more prepared than they anticipated. Many learn that their skills of dealing with difficult behaviors, balancing the needs of upwards of a hundred people at a time, and reaching benchmark achievement goals make them uniquely qualified to work well with others, manage the needs of coworkers, managers, and consumers and accomplish goals set by management.

I’ve been unemployed for a while; can I get back into the workforce?

Even long gaps of being unemployed shouldn’t hold you back from pursuing a career in something you are passionate about or choose a path that you had experience in when you were younger. Even though you are unemployed, you have still retained valuable skills from your years of employment. Get potential employers to notice you by highlighting key skills and experience on your resume, and writing a strong cover letter that describes exactly why you are fit for the job. If you are interested in updating your skill set, consider taking advantage of resources available in the community. The U.S. Department of Labor has set up One Stop Career Centers in all 50 states where participants can take computer training courses for free and become more confident about their skills.


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Career Center
Indiana State University
231 North 6th Walkway
Terre Haute, IN. 47809
(812) 237-5000
(812) 237-4392 (fax)