Friends, I hope that you had a good weekend, and are looking forward to the Labor Day weekend coming up. Unofficial end of summer, you know.
Today marks six months that I have been in the job market. And I remain positive about my prospects, though I work diligently to cultivate additional possibilities on a continual basis.
If you’re a regular visitor here you know that I have a good outlook about most everything, and I don’t have any outward self-esteem issues (at least not that I’m aware). So this isn’t going to be a woe-is-me hand-wringing rant. Rather, I thought I’d share what I’ve experienced, not with my former employer who put me into this predicament, but with those potential employers whom I’ve contacted and met with over these months.
When I first launched my search I was pretty straightforward with myself and prospected employers in what I wanted and expected in terms of responsibilities, duties and most particularly compensation. As time has passed and I have broadened my search and its parameters, I feel certain that I am regularly and quickly passed over for positions for which I am viewed, rightly, as overqualified. Instead of being grateful that someone skilled and experienced is interested, employers appear to take the approach that it’s better not to pursue a candidate who would simply take a job for now but continue a search for something more appropriate. I have to confess that, as a hiring manager, I’ve often viewed certain candidates in the same way. That doesn’t make it any more comfortable when it happens to me as a job-seeker.
I also know that ageism exists in the marketplace. I went through a workshop with the local employment services office (required) and one of the things that was included was a review of my resume by one of their staff “experts.” This lady had been in human resources with a couple of companies so she had some inside knowledge. Her critique of my resume was that I needed to limit my experience to my most recent TEN years of career history, and to leave off the year of my college graduation. I tried that and found that I actually garnered LESS attention from employers than a more extensive resume and my graduation year listed.
I also have experienced a couple of instances where people met me and appeared a little surprised at our initial meeting. I always think that’s as much because of my age as anything. I also recently have been invited to do videos for prospective employers, and while it’s a great opportunity to show a potential company my presentation skills, it’s also a chance for them to gauge my grooming, erudition, and, yes, my age.
I suppose my greatest pet peeve during all of this is the apparent lack of common courtesy by these prospective employers. Many times during this process I have been led to believe that I was a leading candidate, that I was just perfect for the opening at hand, and that an offer of employment is imminent. Then all contact from the company stops, without warning or explanation. My attempts to follow up or learn the current status go unanswered. Then, finally, I might get the standard automated “do not reply to this message” message stating that “while your credentials are impressive, we are moving forward with other candidates who more closely match our requirements.” Or something similar.
I think I’ve mentioned this before, but it still astounds me, particularly if I have traveled any distance for an interview OR a potential offer was directly referenced. But these folks do what they think is best, I suppose.
I have almost exhausted my unemployment benefits, so I have a number of independent work possibilities that I have begun to investigate, along with the many, many, MANY full-time opportunities for which I have applied.
So the journey continues.