CHICAGO (CBS) — They’ve exhausted their unemployment benefits, drained their savings, tapped into their 401k, and they still need a job to survive.

But mature workers over 55 are the least likely to get hired.

CBS 2’s Dorothy Tucker takes a look at what you can do to improve your chances of finding a job.

“I’m an experienced worker, but people don’t look at me that way. They look at me like you’re ready to retire.” said Lamar Oliphant, a former IT professional.

But at 55, Oliphant can’t afford to retire. He has a mortgage, two kids in college, and no more unemployment benefits. National Able Network gives him a small stipend while offering free job training.

“We provide training on computers, we provide training to improve your interviewing techniques.” said Patricia Wilkins, Senior Director, Senior Services, National Able Network.

According to the state’s latest figures, in 2010 88,000 workers between 55 and 64 were looking for a job.

“The purpose of this meeting is to make some connections.” announced Scott Kane, Managing Director, Gray Hair Management.

At this Gray Hair Management networking breakfast, many former senior managers, who used to make six-figure salaries are passing out resumes.

“We provide packages from soup to nuts to help people recreate their documents, their resumes.” said Kane.

The package can cost as much as $4,000. It was the access to 1,500 job leads, the networking, and learning to how to better market her skills that attracted Angela Alexander.

“I’ve been to China, I’ve been in Germany several times.” said Alexander, a former senior manager.

“But it never registered as something that I should be sharing as part of my story.”

Mature workers are also encouraged to use social media in their job search. That’s something Gayle Levine has mastered.

Add those social skills to 25 years of experience in property management, plus an MBA and Gayle seems like a perfect candidate–except she’s 62 years old.

“I’m angry because I walk in, I’m in a nice suit, and I’m professional, I have a professional resume and I feel … give me a chance.” said Levine. “I just want to work. I want to feel valuable.”

Some experts say if it makes you feel better, it doesn’t hurt to get rid of the gray.

Also, be willing to accept a lower salary, and don’t think the job will last for more than a few years.

Links:

grayhairmanagement.com

nationalable.org

ides.state.il.us

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