Training Boosts Confidence in Older Job Seekers

Confidence is key when it comes to getting a job. But for those who have been out of the workforce for an extended period of time, doubt and fear are often associated with re-entering the workforce.

It can be tough to remain confident in today’s labor market. Topped with ageism in the workplace and small skill gaps, self-assurance can be hard to come by for many older job seekers.

Others can sense a lack of confidence, including employers. Discouragement in job seekers can cause challenges throughout the process. To gain employment, older adults need to address issues with confidence and work towards building up their self-esteem in the job market. For some, training could be the answer.

There are several reasons some job seekers may feel less confident. For example, a person might have lost their job and feel ashamed. Working gives us a sense of pride and purpose, and earning money helps us stand on our own two feet.

On the other hand, unemployment can create feelings of shame and confusion. It can feel like a loss of independence when you can’t spend money on things that you used to, or you have to ask for help when you are used to doing things on your own.

Shame from losing a job can be isolating, especially when you do not want people to know you are not working. You might stay home and avoid conversations.

To maintain confidence during your job search, work towards accepting the things you cannot control and work towards building your self-esteem as a job candidate.

Confidence boosters for older job seekers

Are you an older job seeker who could use a confidence boost?

Keep your eye on the future and start examining which steps you need to take in order to improve your ability to gain work. This might mean enrolling in a class or program to update your skills, attending networking events, or getting your resume reviewed. Whatever the case, try to stay positive and focused on your goals.

1. Practice interview skills

Job interviews are the perfect place for your confidence to shine. Employers want to meet confident candidates who are excited and knowledgeable about the open position.

You may need to practice interviewing to get comfortable with the process before the real deal. Research common interview questions and make notes. Practicing your answers out loud can help you deliver them in a relaxed and natural manner.

Before an interview, review the company’s profile and have a good grasp on its basic functions. Practice interview questions with a friend, including the tough interview questions you don’t want to answer.

It’s a good idea to seek a professional to coach you through interviewing. Check with your local library, job center, or community center for job coaching resources.

2. Reflect on past experiences

If you are having a difficult time finding work, you may be applying for jobs that do not align with your experience. It is important to reflect on past work experiences and look at the specific skills you have picked up along the way. Use these keywords to search for job postings.

Creating a portfolio of your accomplishments can help you organize your thoughts. Do you have any degrees or certificates? Did you complete training courses in your past jobs? Have you been recognized with any awards? Use these kinds of examples to highlight your skills and talk about them confidently with employers.

3. Build a network of support

Unemployment can be isolating. It is important for you to build a support system to help you along the way. Be open with those you are close to about your struggles, worries, and progress. Talking about your employment goals can help you avoid feelings of isolation. It may also open doors if the right person is listening. If people know you are actively seeking employment, they could keep their eye out for openings that fit your skill set.

Seek peers in support groups who can share similar perspectives and offer advice. Hearing others’ progress and setbacks can help you pinpoint areas for improvement.

4. Keep adding to your resume

Continue to enhance your resume for a better chance at landing a job. While job searching takes up a lot of time, it’s important to stay occupied with things that you can add to your resume. Activities related to your job search can help grow your confidence, too.

You might volunteer or join a group that works in a similar environment to the kinds of jobs you are applying for. Or, you could enroll in an educational course or job training program to update your skills.

Gaining skills, restoring confidence through job training

Job readiness programs like VANTAGE Workforce Solutions’ Senior Community Service Employment (SCSEP) provides paid, on-the-job training to low-income adults age 55 and older. SCSEP helps older job seekers gain the confidence they need to successfully find work.

“VANTAGE has given me the opportunity to rebuild my work history, gain new skills, improve upon existing skills, and boost my self-esteem,” said one Portage County SCSEP participant. “It’s a chance to re-enter the workforce with the tools to compete for gainful employment.”

Meeting needs in the community

SCSEP not only builds confidence through job training. The program also provides people with a sense of purpose by placing them in a nonprofit or governmental agency, called host sites. By working part-time in a community-based setting, participants gain a sense of giving back while they work towards their employment goals.

SCSEP participants are often a crucial part of operations for local agencies. They fill needs that would otherwise be unobtainable due to time and resources.

Are you interested in participating in the Senior Community Service Employment Program (SCSEP)? Contact us at or 330-253-4597 for more details about participating or becoming a training Host Site.

*The information in this article is intended solely to provide general information on matters of interest for the personal use of the reader, who accepts full responsibility for its use. This article should not be used as a substitute for consultation with professional legal, medical, or other competent advisors.

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