Old and outdated? Not so, say advisors
March 30, 2012 | Jewish Tribune
I’m so frustrated and upset. I’m an experienced administrative assistant. I have over 20 years experience working in several law firms. I think I’m too old. I keep applying and applying for jobs in administration at all kinds of law firms and other companies. I must have emailed around 500 resumes this month. Zero response. No one is calling me. I think it’s because I’m too old. No one wants me even though I have all the skills, education and experience plus I would be a dedicated, responsible and loyal employee. Please help me figure out why this is happening to me. I need to work desperately. I was laid off of my last position where I was working for the past 10 years. What am I doing wrong?
Old and Outdated (OAO)
Cosimo de Leon – Renowned and leading Senior Recruiter at a leading development, planning and construction company and SME (subject matter expert) in the sector has the following pearls of wisdom to respond to OAO.
As a senior recruiter, I receive about 200 resumes a day for different job opportunities at my company. I suspect that if you are applying for so many jobs and not receiving any phone calls from employers, you are missing important qualifications for the job. We usually hire people based on predetermined criteria of the role which is written in the job description.
I recommend that job seekers ask themselves the following:
• Are you targetting your resume and cover letter to specific jobs and are you applying for positions which you are qualified for?
I recommend the applicant consider the following before applying:
a) You need to analyze and understand the job and its responsibilities and requirements. Be honest with yourself and your resume/cover letter.
b) Target your resume/cover letter for the job you can do.
c) If the job calls for 10 years experience – an intermediate level job – and you do not have this, then do not apply for the job. However, depending on the project and the “deal-breakers” (must-haves), the recruiter may be open to fewer years of experience.
d) If there is a particular role you are interested in, and you don’t have all the mandatory requirements, then explain this in the cover letter and mention what you are doing to learn and acquire those skills and experience. What are you doing to compensate for lacking these skills and experience. For example: taking a relevant course; volunteering at a relevant company/organization. The key is to compensate for what is missing in your experience, education and qualifications.
Here are some other tips from the lens of a recruiter:
1) Have an action plan and keep track of the jobs you are applying for. As a recruiter, it is discouraging when I call an applicant and he or she has no clue about the position they applied for.
2) Use Social Media (Linked-in) to connect with recruiters. We use Linked-in to source qualified candidates. It’s quick, helps with networking and excellent for time management.
Leading JVS mentoring coach and employment counsellor Farah Alizadehahi has this for Old and Outdated.
I’m not sure where you got the idea that your age plays a part in the employers’ not responding to your applications. Did you get this feedback from the employers? Also, resumes do not show people’s ages.
Before reaching the 200-job application mark, to which you have not received any response, I would highly recommend that you need to revisit and reexamine your resume, cover letter and job search. True, the application process relies on trial and error but perhaps after 15 resumes, you might want to stop and seek advise and change your approach if you are not having any luck.
The resume and cover letter are telling you that they are not doing what they are supposed to be doing. Therefore, I would find an employment counsellor, preferably in your area, at a local employment Ontario centre and ask for resume and cover letter help.
I would also suggest the following additional activities:
1) Set goals. Set a time frame. For example, send out 10 specific, targetted resumes/cover letters to 10 jobs in one week. At the end of the week, review and evaluate the progress of your applications and if you have received a response.
2) Remember – the resume does not bring you the job – it only brings you the interview.
3) Evaluate your expectations of the job market, what you can do, your current strengths, skills, abilities, education and experience and what type of job title(s) you are qualified for and interested in.
4) Re the age barrier – I know that the financial industry specifically seeks out mature talent; they do not want young workers. They value the work ethic, maturity and professional skills and life experiences.
I wish you lots of success with customizing and targetting your resume and cover letter for the jobs to which you apply. I hope you get a phone call for an interview. Meanwhile, I invite you to follow Jewish Vocational Services’ (JVS Toronto) blog ‘Career Voice’ for some cutting-edge informative advice and tips for your job search at http://jvstoronto.wordpress.com.
Joanna, B.A., B.Ed. is a certified Life Skills Coach and Career Management Fellow who is a team lead of employer services and job developer at Jewish Vocational Services (JVS Toronto).
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