Featured, How to Search, Job Search

Help a job seeker: What should you do when age is an obstacle to finding a job?

Photo credit: bahri altay, Shutterstock

Photo credit: bahri altay, Shutterstock

Every other Wednesday we usually feature an open thread where we ask you to share your advice on a particular topic. Today, we’re shifting gears and featuring a question we recently received from a job seeker. Can you help her out?

“I have found that my age is one of the biggest obstacles in reaching employers/gaining employment.

I started by leaving off my undergraduate degree, now I am struggling with leaving off one of my masters degrees. I worked hard for both degrees, I was able to pay off all my loans to NYU for the first masters degree, and now I worry that not only will I struggle with paying back my loans, but that all my hard work in sustainable economic development, advocacy and leadership with carefully chosen and reputable NGO’s will make no difference whatsoever.

I am thinking perhaps I should do something for women around this issue but have no idea where to start, part of this problem is I have most of my experience in India where cultural norms and practice are very different.

I would love to get some insight into this issue as I imagine I am not the only woman struggling with this.”

Do you have any advice for this job seeker? Share it in the comments.

And if you’re job seeker looking for advice, send me your question at allison@idealist.org.

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39 Comments

  1. Peter Moran

    From my perspective, I wouldn’t eliminate any of your degrees from your resume. However, you may want to eliminate the dates of graduation, which enable hiring managers to calculate your age.

    Even undergrad degrees may be important from a networking point of view, so removing that information may decrease the potential for establishing a common connection with the prospective employer.

    • Thanks so much. I didn’t think of that. I agree that having the kinds of education and experience are important, I appreciate this creative problem solving approach!

      • Melinda

        Andrea,
        I first want to tell you that I am a seasoned Recruiter with over 25 years of experience. I work for the Largest Recruitment outsourcing company in the World and have been here almost 7 years now, so in reference to this comment, I would say this is my area of expertise.

        Secondary to that, I want to compliment you on your website, IT ROCKS, love the simplicity, the photo’s all of it, it’s great. I agree with some of these comments but not with most of them. It is unfortunate that there is still an element of discrimination in the world, I personally don’t get that, but, because there is, perhaps leaving the graduation dates off may help, honestly can’t say for sure because for me, I am looking for, interviewing and qualifying candidates EVERYDAY with the main objective being, finding the right candidate for the right position. I am WAY, WAY more interested in a person’s outlook, attitude and potential for contribution to the team and ultimately the company goal at the end of the day.

        I will tell you, having a clean, organized, not too wordy resume is CRITICAL. They say that it takes only 3 seconds for a person to decide whether or not to stay on a website they visit. I have to say, that is about the same time it takes me to decide whether or not, I will continue to read a resume or not, based purely on the format.

        The reason is simple, I’M BUSY, I will review anywhere from 50 to 200 resumes in a given day and NOTHING is more frustrating than having to search on a persons resume for things like, previous employment history, dates of tenure etc. That is the very first thing I look for. If I have to look at hundreds of skills and every single software program you have experienced over a career only to find that someone has never kept a job over a year, that’s a huge issue and as you can imagine, I will not be calling them. I NEED to see the employment history under the 2nd or 3rd category of a resume. So for example, having a section under the main name and address of “Objection” “Education” etc. The section “Employment History” needs to be right up there, not the very last thing on the resume.

        The basic info is the most important. Something I see all too much is a resume that lists every single skill a person has ever done or even been exposed to over their career is just too much info! The idea is to get the recruiter to call. Sections should be clearly outlined, or highlighted if you will. If you can think of your resume as your personal advertisement, perfect, so…….create your ad. WHO are you, WHERE have you worked and for how long, (tenure is important) and WHAT specifically did you do at that position, NOT every single thing you did but the most impactful thing you did. Innovative, creative and unique always gets my attention as well. I can tell you honestly from MY HEART AGE is irrelevant.

        I hope this is a tiny bit helpful to you and All the very best to you in your search! Feel free to reach out anytime. My email is melflnative at aol dot com.

        Melinda

  2. Hello, job seeker. I have written many resumes and CVs for mature workers and have had terrific success in simply leaving out YEARS of degrees and strategically formatting experience. I usually focus the “Experience” section on the last 10-15 years, with full detail. The rest goes into an “Additional Experience” section with position title, organization/company, and years (optional). I’m happy to help you with this challenging situation. Send me a message at fusco@elevateresume.com anytime. -L.Fusco, MPH

  3. Carol H

    I would add all degrees that are relevant to the position you are seeking. There is no need to include the year you received the degree.
    Younger people are concerned that an older person is not technologically savvy. On your resume and in interviews stress that you are knowledgeable about the current software and devices used in your field. Don’t make jokes like, “My (son/daughter) programs the TV”
    If your interviewer/prospective boss is younger, try to emphasis that you acknowledge his position and will be respectful.

  4. David Jensen

    Dear Young Lady,
    You are certainly not alone, and neither is it limited to the fairer sex. I hear many stories from both men and women who feel that it is very daunting to know that their skills are relevant to today’s workplace, and not get the recognition to their resumes or applications as they used to.
    I’ve heard it from many HR managers that while illegal, it is a common practice to judge based on age.
    The economy still poses many issues. One, the marketplace has many more unemployed than what the data suggests. Two, hiring managers are still more prone to stealing a competitor’s employee than hiring someone new. Three, it is usually assumed that a more experienced worker will require more compensation, and possibly more in health care costs. Not very encouraging, am I?
    I wish I had the golden key to solving this dilemma.
    Creating a functional resume based on skills and strengths, with only dates for your more recent educational and employment history, is one approach that will get you further than a chronological resume. When it comes to applications, that’s another story. You must list your dates. But whenever possible, avoid the application stage until after you’ve been able to MARKET YOURSELF with your functional resume’. Email it and snail mail it to the hiring manager (not HR), with a compelling cover letter.
    Secondly, it’s still “who you know.” Networking is essential to getting a job today. Get out and about if it’s a local job, and really work LinkedIn and Facebook to find people who know people at that place you’d love to work at. Ask for help – people are willing to do what they can.
    I hope this is somewhat helpful.

  5. Mecki Oker

    Dear job seeker,

    I will ask for forgiveness for my candor and straightforwardness right at the start. I expect you may not like my response at first. At the same time I believe my suggestions will help identify productive steps to help you land the job you deserve and desire.

    To set the stage: I will turn 50 this year. I resigned from my previous job at the Director level last year and have been searching for a new role since October. For many applications, I have not even received an acknowledgement of receipt.

    So what to do?

    1) Forget your chronological age. You cannot change it.
    What you can change is the energy level you, your actions and your words radiate. Increasing your energy level may require commitment to exercise, outlook on life, diet, etc.
    It may also require a shift to a curious mind.

    2) Shift your negative and needy attitude. (“….now I am worried that I won’t be able to pay my loans….”). It may sound cruel, but nobody cares.

    You worked hard for your degree. Now work even harder for your job. Shift to a mindset of power. Reflect on the VALUE that you can provide and KNOW YOUR WORTH. This mindset will give you a good base to identify suitable positions AND a sound base to negotiate from.

    Start with self reflection beyond age:
    How well am I suited to fulfill the requirements of the role I am applying for?
    Am I looking in the right spots?
    How can I get my foot in the door?
    Are my cover letters intriguing?
    Do I submit my cover letters directly to the HR person (I personally have started doing that. It takes some time to identify the contact info, but it worth the effort.

    Be brutally honest with yourself, make a plan, then take action!!

    3) Focus. You seem to know what job you want. Remind yourself that you only need ONE position that is a perfect match.

    I assume that you have a friend already reviewing your cover letters and CVs and that you are well versed in the skills of negotiation. From my own experience, I can only say that the journey to find the “perfect” job has been an exercise in continuous improvement along the entire job search, interview and negotiation process.

    Take a step back and approach it like a new life lesson.

    With wishes for a GLORIOUS and WILD job hunt.

    • I greatly appreciate honesty and candor.
      Thank you for making an effort to provide helpful feedback.
      However making judgements and assumptions is generally what gets us in trouble as people. One of the great aspects of getting “older” is letting go of these.
      So, firstly let me say, I have plenty of energy, I am an Ironman distance triathlete and endurance sports competitor. I founded a mindful health and wellness business with a focus on nutrition for healthy populations and those with TBI, Neurological deficits and disease, after studying nutrition with a specialty on athletic performance.
      Secondly, this is one part of a written piece that was chosen by an editor on Idealist because the individual thought this may be helpful to other people.
      In closing let me say that my choice to go to school in addition to gaining multiple certifications indicate a healthy appetite for that which I don’t know, inherent curiosity and a desire to learn.
      When responding to others in the future please keep your candor, however keep an eye on making assumptions that come from your own idea of who the person is and focus on what you know, not what you don’t, ultimately leading to a response that will be helpful for anyone reading the thread.

  6. T

    The responses provided are all well and good, but as someone who was caring for one of my parents for 4 1/2 years, it has been extremely difficult in getting “my feet” back into the workplace. I was a Secretary/Admin Assistant for 24 years. 99% of companies use applicant tracking software and you have to input dates of attendance/graduation dates on these electronic applications for HS, College/University and in some cases “account for any gaps in employment.” I am over 50 and not yet 55, and after attending a Workforce1 orientation session and meeting with a career adviser I was handed a pamphlet with resources for those over the age of 50. Upon meeting with representatives of the agencies listed on the pamphlet I was informed that they only assisted those who are age 55+. I then tried accessing AARP’s Work Assessment program online and have not been able to obtain feedback on any career resources that might be available. Networking with those I worked with at previous jobs has been near impossible as they are barely holding on to their jobs, or do not have the capacity to hire, so asking them if they have heard of any job openings has lead to a dead end in my case.

    Of the feedback that I have received from employers via email regarding my application it has been the “although it is clear that someone with your qualifications has much to offer, we have narrowed the search and filled the position with another candidate that we think best meets the skills and experience for the role.”

    Close but no cigar!

    After I read a news article about President Obama’s pledge to aid the long term unemployed (300 companies supposedly signed this pledge a few weeks ago), I was a bit hopeful that I could submit my resume to the companies mentioned and see where that would take me. Of the companies mentioned in the article, though, few appear to have openings in the NYC area.

    I am receiving SNAP (Food Benefits) and the beneficiary income that I receive barely covers my rent. In an ill twist of fate I was told that if I had no income I would be eligible for a jobs program and cash assistance. When I spoke to a social welfare representative and suggested that I only wanted to participate in the “jobs” portion of the program so that I could network with the jobs counselor I was informed that the program does not “work like that.” Cash assistance + jobs program go hand in hand.

    Volunteering somewhere to gain a foothold back in the job market sounds line a win-win situation for me, but I have no finances, or should I say, no extra spending income. I am holding onto the last pair of gold earrings that my mom gave me last year, and will only sell them if I need to. I had to sell my other gold/silver jewelry last year to pay bills (and truly regretted it).

    People over 50 want to work; people who were caregivers want to re-enter the workforce.

    I pray every day that I will obtain employment…this prayer began last year and every month I re-new my vow. I have to remain hopeful. I cannot get any poorer than I already am.

    • I too have parent that I help care for. I completely understand what mat feel overwhelming, but I do not want to assume that this is in fact what you are saying.
      You are right about the software, in fact this is one of the primary issues I was talking about when I originally wrote to idealist.
      It is frustrating but not impossible! I am not in your shoes and I don’t want to preach as I have previously been inappropriately preached to.
      So I will just share my experience in the hopes that some parts may be helpful.
      I did go to a career counselor, you can find many of the same tools I used with her right here on Idealist. This is helpful in getting you to hone in on what you want, or perhaps some career changes you didn’t even imagine. In addition I use Linked In quite a bit, there are also resources on Linked In. The groups help with making connections and providing jobs related to your areas of interest, in addition to new resources pertinent to these areas of expertise.
      I shy away from the AARP and “age” related agencies as these only reinforce (for me) that age is the most important mitigating factor in my finding a job, I don’t hold this inherent belief. However I am not telling you not to feel that way. I am merely suggesting the subliminal message may reinforce your feeling like you are trying to reach something unattainable solely because of your age.
      I too have very limited financial means, but for me it is essential to be out in the world working in some capacity even if I am not getting paid- this is just me. I volunteer and do consulting in areas in which I have expertise, it keeps me fresh and in the loop, making connections, doing something that may ultimately turn into a paying job. I try to mix my job search up with looking for jobs, volunteering and consistently going over my resume. I have decided to work with L. Fusco on my resume in the hopes that this a sticky point for me, I have never really had to search for job, I have owned my own business and/or been recruited.
      I think idealist often has jobs in the areas you mentioned, maybe you are not using the right search tools? As a former Sec/Admin did you work with non-profits and NGO’s?
      Idealist is a great resource for jobs in these sectors, as is Linked In.
      Remaining hopeful is crucial. Keep up the hard work, I wish you the best in your search.

    • Karen E. Lund

      I hear ya!
      We’re too young to be old, too old to be young…

      As for your caregiving “time out,” consider putting it on your resume and LinkedIn profile.
      My Dad required major surgery and rehabilitation that completely occupied three months of my life in 2011. (He recovered better than anyone believed possible so it was totally worth it, but it interrupted my job search and temporary work.) I considered putting it on my LinkedIn profile, but got back into temping before it was necessary. Still, I drafted some of what I did as a care-giver and it looked pretty impressive:
      * Interfaced with doctors and other medical personnel regarding tests, diagnoses and possible treatments.
      * Screened mail and paid bills on my Father’s behalf.
      * Monitored notices regarding medical insurance coverage.
      * Maintained my Father’s home and made minor modifications to furnishings in preparation for his homecoming.
      …. And so on.

      Like you I’ve worked mostly in administrative support and it sure came in handy! After Dad left the hospital and was staying at a rehabilitation facility (for wound care and physical therapy) I periodically arrived bearing mail, bills and his checkbook so I could help him take care of his personal expenses. While he was hospitalized I’d paid his bills from my accounts. I was his personal secretary and bookkeeper.

      I can’t promise this will get you a job, but filling the gap in your work history might get you a closer look from at least a few recruiters or hiring managers, and eventually get you hired. Emphasize the skills you acquired in your career and applied to care-giving and let hiring managers know how adaptable you are!

    • karen

      First, thank you for taking care of your folks when they needed you. I hope it brings you self-actualization even as you struggle. How about going to anyone who was aware of your sacrifice (medical professionals, nursing home management, children of other ill parents, etc) and asking them for advice, ideas, referrals to employment? They might help, as they would see the value in what you did. Also, I suggest you apply for a retail job. Might seem demeaning, but a good person always rises, and there smarts and experience are a plus.

    • Karen E. Lund

      I just found this article mentioned on LinkedIn: http://www.careerealism.com/career-gaps-resume/
      How To Handle Career Gaps On Your Resume

      For anyone (any age) who’s been out of the workforce for a while and is returning, this might help. Indeed, it says what some of us have already suggested, very clearly and succinctly.

  7. Susan

    The reality is that the problem is the economy, not the person. I remember my mother who grew up during the great depression said, “The difference between the great depression and now is that back then we knew that it was the economy, not the person. Now, it is the person, not the economy. We all helped each other and my father opened up his barn to give people a place to stay and those who helped on the farm always had food.”

    I really believe that we are actually in another “depression” of sorts, the second great depression? No one wants to talk about that reality yet the numbers show different. People are holding on to their jobs with their lives even if they can’t stand it. People are spending less money causing businesses to reduce and donating less money and food to non profits.

    I am sorry to hear that you struggle and the resources are slim to assist those who are actually willing to work but cannot find a job. These are the reductions that we see on every corner. Non profits and churches are low in their ability to assist in practical terms where the city, state and federal does not. I am sorry to say that it will get worse for the aging because the numbers of the aged are rising and the numbers who can help support the system is decreasing. There is not enough money to go around.

    With that said, there is hope by having a positive outlook possibly viewing the situation as a challenge and thinking outside of the box. Attend meetings, lectures, volunteer if only for a few hours a week, conduct informational interviews to gather wisdom from the areas of work that you are interested in, start your own blog, get involved in local business meeting meet-ups and get out there each and every day with a bang! Try to think how you can create your own dream job and start your own company. Hand out business cards at all the meetings and to everyone that you meet. Start a website, get listed in the local directories and LinkedIn, go to the Better Business Bureau meetings in your area. It is a lot of work, but you never know what may come your way!

    Hang in there

    • Absolutely!!
      Done all of the above, thanks so much for offering helpful ideas.
      Volunteering is key for me as my work has always been focused on the “helping professions” or advocacy.

  8. Boris

    Every age has its advantages and disadvantages. Younger workers have maybe more energy, but senior workers certainly have more experience and more comprehensive knowledge and skills. Consequently, there are jobs out there which are more suitable for younger workers (junior positions), and also there are jobs more suitable for senior workers (senior positions). The trick may be to apply for the right position for your age!

  9. Tomas

    I think it is indisputable that age generally impacts job applications negatively. However, resumes should minimally provide basics and educational degrees are critical. Selection committees/reviewers will always seek to understand an applicant’s progression and omitting information will often create misunderstandings. I think the focus must be presenting yourself carefully (cover letter and resume) based on what you perceive the employer is seeking. Whatever you can do to highlight your skill sets, your genuine interest in the organization, skill sets you believe are transferable to the benefit of the organization will be critical.

    • Thanks so much. Definitely working on this.
      I truly appreciate your feedback.

  10. Kathy

    Those of us 50 and over are definitely seeing a trend re. age discrimination. As others have stated, dates of graduation are not necessary on one’s resume. (I’ve been told by HR professionals that too many dates are distracting to who you are and what you have done.)
    But as many of us know about the current application process – there are items that are asked which are not necessary until you are ready to be hired (such as a background check). But many companies are asking for social security numbers, dates of graduation, driver’s license number, etc. As far as age, the question that is legal to ask is if you are 18 or over. The date of graduation is not necessary until they are ready to hire you and need to check your credentials. (Yes, people lie.) But it can be a slippery slope. Legally, a company can ask an age question “if there is a business reason to do so”. Vague. I am actually testing this area of date of graduation question and have filed a charge of age discrimination for this very issue.
    I don’t think anything will come of it, except the company will know that I know what happened
    (and so will the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission). All this aside, companies need to realize that experience counts more than anything. I have been told that older workers aren’t hired because they won’t be able to work a lengthy period and will retire. But chances are, when they hire the young (inexperienced) workers, those hires move on to better opportunities as soon as they can. We’ve all seen it. Good luck to all and remind yourself you are worth it – with your tremendous experience(s)!

    • Shari

      Thank you for this comment, Kathy. The age discrimination in the technology sector, where I spent the majority of my work life, is absolutely appalling and continues unabated. It’s really difficult to prove age discrimination unfortunately. But filling EEOC complaints is one way we can do something constructive and should be done anytime we feel that it had been the mitigating factor in not getting a particular job. Interestingly, in my experience, non-profits are the least likely to engage in this type of discriminatory behavior. It seems to me that the more capitalist the organization, the more likely they are to have questionable practices.

  11. Thanks!
    Maybe the idea of women working together on this in some fashion is a good idea.
    Collaboration drives innovation and interesting outcomes.
    For all those who have spent the time to respond, thank you on behalf of myself as well as others who may benefit!

    • Martha

      Are you aware of iRelaunch? They’re women working together, and they get it: http://www.irelaunch.com/

      • No! I will check it out. Thanks!

  12. Yvette

    As a 55+ old person feeling very lucky to be employed, I wonder if its time for a social movement something like Occupy Wall Street. Mature workers of the US, let’s join forces and show potential employers that we are diverse in skills, talents, experiences, ambition, energy and willingness to learn, adapt and continue to develop!

  13. Dear Educated and Experienced Job-Seeker,

    I strongly recommend considering all of your education and experience as assets. As someone who has both hired and advised jobseekers 50+, I often see people using their resume to show a history of their work rather than as a way to market their most recent experience to a specific employer. Making a shift doesn’t mean taking the dates off your resume, but it does mean organizing what you’ve done and know how to do in a way that helps your next boss see exactly how you could add value to his or her team.

    You might want to take a look at the on-line resources that Encore.org offers, including the Work section (http://www.encore.org/work/advice_resources) and this older blog about age bias: http://www.encore.org/news/age-bias-problem-encore-

    Best of luck!

  14. Also very helpful. Thanks to idealist and the young woman who made all of this possible.

  15. ML

    I agree with the advice of others to remove the dates of degrees from your resume. Here is something which is useful only for your head. (I worked in an HR office for 6.5 years; what I’m about to say is a fact.)

    Age discrimination is illegal.

    So go forward recognizing that you are better off not having a job with any employer which seems to be using it as a culling tool. If a job seeker is over 18 or 21, there are virtually no positions in which age ought to be a factor. Furthermore, if you are asked your age, you can ask in response whether or not the asking organization is an “equal opportunity employer.”

  16. Andrea,

    I noticed the link where your name appears that took me to your website.

    First, very cool to have a website! It demonstrates your willingness and ability to keep up with technology, which is probably the most common objection to hiring “older” workers (and, sadly, sometimes true). You’ve knocked down one stereotype.

    Second, I learned a lot more about you from your comments here than from your website. Where’s all that experience? I see a bicycle, but I don’t see anything about triathalons. I don’t see a link to your LinkedIn profile.

    You could make much better use of your website to demonstrate your tech savvy, professional skills, and youthful outlook!

  17. Shari

    This thread is the most helpful and hopeful thing I have read about job seeking in a very, very long time. Thank you all.

  18. Laura Walker

    I agree with previous comments about leaving off dates of graduation and formatting your resume to focus on skills/experience, rather than chronological order.

    I faced similar challenges after I graduated from college at an older age, so completely empathize with you. I eventually found a job, which allowed me to work my way into the field I really loved, but it took a long time and frustration. I used suggestions like those provided here, which I think helped.

    Also, I would LOVE to see advocacy around the problem of age discrimination and women’s employment. Age discrimination alone is also a huge problem right now during our continuing recession.

  19. Susan

    Any suggestions for when your NAME gives away your age? There are almost no “Susans” under age 50…

    • Kathy

      I scrolled the comments and noticed many names that are not used anymore. I understand the dilemma, but it actually brought a smile – I recall elementary school, where there were at least 4-5 Susans and Kathys (or Cathys) in a class! Remember names are fads; they come and go. There are popular names now such as Emily and Emma – very, very old names. I would think (hope) HR departments don’t spend any time thinking about someone’s name and how old they are. When they see us in person, they know how old we are.

  20. Audrey

    Shaving years of experience off a resume or eliminating year of graduation in the age of Google is useless. I think the bigger issue at hand is the perception that older people have no value in today’s workforce. How do we change that?

    • Kathy

      I agree. But at this point there is little recourse. One piece of advice I can give is to make sure you tailor your resume to the position. (I have 4-5 resumes that are all a little different from the others.) After each job title or position, list a few great bullet points so that the person reading it will know what you did (accomplished) in that particular position. (Again, highlight accomplishments or duties that align with the position you are applying for.) Use active verbs. (Created, consulted, managed, . . .) Edit and create white space so that it’s easy to read. And don’t go back past 10-15 years, unless you need to mention work experience that is specifically pertinent to the desired position. If you don’t put dates, they don’t know when it happened, but as I stated in an earlier comment, I was told by an HR person that dates bog down the resume. It’s not important when you did it – it’s important that you have that experience that they are looking for and you are the one for the job.
      P.S. Do the same for the cover letter – don’t send the generic cover letter. Use words in your cover letter that are in the job description.
      I pick a previous cover letter that’s similar, copy it, and edit it to fit the new posting. Make sure you proofread or have someone do it for you.

  21. Felipe

    I agree with Shari. This thread is very motivating and encouraging. I also like Ivette’s comments and proposals. This April I’ll be 58 years old. I lost my job in Mexico, couldn’t find a job because of the age issue. Moved to Chicago 3 years ago looking for a better life. Have worked in “survival jobs”. I’ve been enrolled in an Upwardly Global (non-profit organization) program for “foreign educated legal immigrants”. They help you with your resume, mock interviews and networking. So far, I’ve been interviewed by 3 companies, as a finalist in two of them lately. Unfortunately, from one of the companies I received the same feedback as T, namely, “although it is clear that someone with your qualifications has much to offer, we have narrowed the search and filled the position with another candidate that we think best meets the skills and experience for the role.”
    The HR Manager from the other company informed me that though I am “very professional” and “experienced” the other candidate seems to support pressure better tan I do !!!!!!!?????
    I have a BS in International Trade from a reputable university in Mexico City and a MBA in International Trade from Laredo State University (Texas A&M). My background is in Purchasing/Procurement/Supply Chain.
    I thought that age discrimination in the USA was illegal but I am starting to realize that it is a fact. Thank you all.

  22. Lynn

    Really, I’ve found that the biggest problem is even with organization/companies that will interview “experienced” workers, if the hiring manager is significantly younger or less experienced, the odds for getting hired is practically impossible.

  23. Andy

    I, too, face the two-headed resistance of gender and age when applying for a job. I talked to one of my mentors about the problem and she, still going strong full time at 76 as a university professor, advised me to turn it on its head. So, she argued, argue that your age is an important benefit to any employer. Women over 45 are unlikely to bear children and many of them do not have children living at home so time is less likely to be divided. Women over 45 also are more likely to have their marriages “under control” in that husbands have either accustomed themselves to marriage to a professional woman or weak marriages have ended already. Also, the wealth of experience, ability to communicate, focus, and stamina that older workers bring to their jobs often impressively beats out younger workers. I’m sure you can think of qualities you bring to your work that you have strengthened simply by having been in your field for a long time!

  24. Carrie Bail

    I’m encountering age discrimination as a church pastor. As our mainline congregations get older and shrink, they are less able to pay a just wage based on experience and more eager to hire part-time and/or young inexperienced pastors in the hopes they will magically “bring the children back.” (A nice but unlikely dream.) Our situation is exacerbated by the fact that we are not eligible for unemployment compensation as we are considered by the IRS to be “self-employed”.

    Age discrimination is easily disguised by the fact that a “search committee” (group of lay folk charged with finding a new pastor) can simply say “We have another candidate who more closely matches what we are looking for. Best wishes for your future.”

    Retooling to seek a non-profit job is not easy without specific talents not directly developed as a pastor, like fund-raising and grant-writing, marketing and advertising. Writing an effective free market resume is also a challenge after thirty years of not doing so.

    I am not giving up, but I am also aware of the economic feudalism that is contributing to our dilemma and wish that it would be written about/exposed more often. Guess I’d better write the article!

  25. Casaundra May

    I think now days it is better to make your own job/profession/career.
    It seems to be the trend, as many people are unable to employ people at this time, and this seems to be a growing problem.
    If I could make a suggestion…combine what it is you are wanting to do, along with the skills you have and find out what the missing service is in your community.
    If there isn’t anything, then move.
    This is what I am doing. After several attempts to combine my skills and passions to do some kind of work to support my family, I have discovered after 8 years in this community I am in that it is not a good match.
    The work I do now supports my family, but not my passions and now that I am in my early 40′s, the clock is ticking away and it is time to do what I want and what I am good at.
    There are obvious pros and cons to working for yourself, but at least you are employed and not waiting around for someone to give you a shot.
    Best of luck to you and I sincerely hope you can use your skills and passions to help women.
    We desperately need to support one another.
    Take care

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