Welcome to the Gen Plus Blog

It's a backstage pass to info on jobs and life at 50+. Gen Plus, headed by Janet Wendy Spiegel, is dedicated to baby boomers and the plus generation of age 50 and older. Read up and speak out on issues affecting your future: jobs, income, life and respect.

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Northridge, California, United States
Successful businesswoman, consultant, entrepreneur. I operate two businesses -- social media consulting, AND premium pet care services in the West San Fernando Valley. Love what I do, love life.

Gen Plus has relocated to www.GenPlusUSA.com

Monday, March 26, 2007

On Finding Employment After Fifty

A very frustrated jobseeker on my group on eons had this to say (not reprinted in its entirety):

I need to vent on this subject. I live in NC, have been here since June 2006. I have my resume posted on HotJobs, CareerBuilder, and Monster. I am signed up with five different staffing agencies, two of them nationally known. I have more than 15 years of accounting/bookkeeping experience as well as eleven years as a social worker and more than five years of customer service experince in the healthcare field. I have been trying to find work since I arrived here and still have not found anything due to the rentless presence of discrimination, age and other wise. I am educated, my computer skills are above par, and I present myself well at interviews. I am failing to understand why I am unable to land a job, even when applying for positions that I am more than qualified for.

Another pet peeve of mine is that after an interview, I send out a thank you note, why is it that HR personnel do not acknowledge the fact you came in except to send you a reject letter? Why don't they tell you the reason why you were not selected? If there is anybody out there that can clue me in, please feel free to do so.
Signed, Frustrated in NC

Dear Frustrated,

A lot of good comments and I understand your frustration. So I'm going to address as many of your concerns as I can. Here is the bottom line. It is very, very hard to find work over fifty. I have been working for over two years to secure employers for Gen Plus and it is very challenging to get them to declare themselves 50 plus friendly.

The reality is that you may have to apply for 500 jobs or more in order to gain employment. I'm not sure how you are looking for work, but in addition to posting your resume, you need to be applying for jobs every day. Many smaller companies will NOT pay the money to advertise online, but they may put an ad in a small local paper. At 50 plus, every jobseeker needs to be extremely creative -- even going business to business if you have to, in order to get your resume in the hands of the right people. I've been running a survey on my blog to see how long it is taking 50 plussers to find work. Majority seems to be a year or longer. Don't give up. Try temp to permanent staffing agencies and accountemps, too.

As for HR departments not getting back to you, with the current high levels of litigation in the US, it is rare that a company will put in writing any reasons that you may NOT have selected for a job. However, good manners goes a long way. Keep sending your thank you cards. You are on the right track.

Last note: in addition to looking for national searches on Gen Plus, try searches on www.indeed.com and www.craigslist.org for jobs in your area. Indeed is great as it compiles many online listings in one place. Craig's List offers employers a very inexpensive alternative to traditional online job posting.


Juan said...

Unfortunately, age discrimination is all too prevalent in our society. Many companies believe that younger workers are cheaper and more productive-- neither of which can be substantiated with any evidence.

Wendy is 100% correct. You need to diversity your sources and means of job searching. Don't restrict yourself to only online sites and just the big boards. Network your way into the companies you are interested in working for and get involved with local chapters of professional associations you may be associated with. This way you can uncover some of the unpublished jobs that are out there and hopefully get a jump on other candidates for an interview. Good Luck!

workplace diversity

Walter Akana said...

Hi Wendy!

Great advice, as always! It is tough to find work after fifty, and it seems that we’re still a way off from the long-expected talent crisis that will usher unemployed Boomers back into the workforce. So, creativity is key!

And as Juan has pointed out, so is relationship building! I would add these tips:

- Figure out who’s in your network, take an interest in their success, and determine what you can do for them in the process of getting them to help you.

- Don’t ask people “who’s hiring” or if they can pass along your resume; rather, ask them for guidance and for referrals to get advice or information to help with your career transition. It helps to use a target list of companies that are attractive and would hire people with your talents; as Juan says, this is about networking your way into companies.

- Get involved with a networking organization and make it your business to help people in their search -- this can include resume reviews and other feedback, and especially should include helping others make networking connections. And yes, to Juan’s point, being active in professional organization can get you considered for a job has not been posted.

- If there seemed to be rapport during an interview, then go beyond thank you notes. Pick up the phone and make an effort to build new relationships with folks you connect with in the process – even if you didn’t get the job.

- Sign up with a temp agency and take assignments, as this is a good way to meet company insiders while showing what you can do.

- Volunteer as a way of meeting people and developing relationships while proving your value.

What you know is the baseline and gets you in the game, but it’s the relationship building (and the reputation you develop) that sets you apart and helps you win the position.