CLEVELAND - Thousands of people flocked to the I-X Center for a career fair sponsored by AARP Ohio and EmploymentGuide.com.
Many in the crowd were over the age of 50. AARP offered tools and tips to help people, older than 50, reposition themselves in a tough economy.
This was the first job fair that Mike Shoffstall, 56, of Hudson, attended. He was laid off in 2009 after 23 years in corporate communications with Ernst and Young.
Since than, Shoffstall landed some consulting work, but has struggled to find full-time employment.
He knows he's not alone.
"I go to a local job search club and I would say 70 to 80% of the people there are over 50," Shoffstall said.
Lewis Meriam, a 55-year-old computer consultant with Nationwide Insurance, recently had his hours cut from 40 to 20. Next month, his hours will drop to 10.
"It's a big struggle because when it gets cut like that, I've got to readjust budgets. I've got to figure out how am I gonna make it," Meriam said.
Tammie Newsome, 51, of Cleveland is a nurse. She sent her resume to hundreds of places, but only had three interviews.
Tammie said she was shocked by discouraging words from potential employers.
"I've been called a loser and that I'll never find a job and that they don't even know why I'm even trying," Newsome said.
Statistics from AARP indicate that it takes people over the age of 50 an average of seven months longer to find a job when compared to people under 50.
Kevin Craiglow, AARP public outreach spokesman, said people need to stay positive, but also be willing to change their methods for job searching.
"That means your resume, your personal branding and that means your electronic communication, using the computer to find the next job," Craiglow said.
AARP also suggests that 50-plusers be upfront about the money they're willing to make.
Sometimes employers assume they can't afford someone with a lot of experience, but that's now always the case
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