EMPLOYMENT specialists and older employees offer these suggestions: Bea Riley, manager of recruitment, Harvard Community Health Plan:
Focus on what you want. Part time? Full time? A career change? A job in your same field?
Don't apologize for your age. In an interview, if there are certain aspects of a position you don't think you can do, just say, ``This isn't what I thought the job would be.'' You don't have to discuss age; discuss the job and responsibilities.
Ilse Schenk, visual communications specialist:
If you know what you're good at, don't go for something else just because there's an opening.
Enthusiasm is infectious, as is depression. If you're enthusiastic, they'll want you around. Whatever you are inside will come through to the person across from you.
If you feel you have to make yourself over to fit a situation, you won't fit.
Engage in networking. Talk to people. Make it known you're looking for a job.
Update your skills. Seek career counseling. Go to meetings and luncheons of professional organizations. Eileen Cooper, affirmative action officer, BayBank Middlesex:
Be prepared to explain information in your r'esum'e, to interpret gaps and changes in your employment history, and to answer questions.
Ask questions. It's important for employers to hear your questions because they'll get a better understanding of what you're looking for. Don't ever be shy about asking the kinds of questions you need to make a rational, informed decision about whether or not you want to work there.
Join job clubs. Work with career counselors before going to companies. You cannot expect companies to tell you what you can do. Your job, once you get to that interview, is to tell the company what you can do for them.