Are You a Job Search Victim?
From Career Tips, 2013 Volume 10, October 2013
As soon as last month's issue was released, I received two emails back-to-back from the same person, both with essentially the same message:
"Don't you know that there are NO jobs out there in Obama's America for anyone over 35 - let alone 50! Who even GETS interviews anymore?! The phone doesn't ring so what's the point in telling someone - rather INSULTING someone - in how to conduct ourselves in interviews. We'll never get an interview - especially if over 50 and out of work more than 3 months! Age is not valued. YOUTH is!"
"You're wasting your time insulting us! You can tell us how to dress, act, behave, speak - it STILL will not shave years off our background/résumé. Employers will reject us because of age - bottom line!!!"
Clearly she is incredibly frustrated with her situation, and I get it. It's a tough job market out there, and it's hard not to get depressed if you've been hitting your head against a brick wall. However, if you want to have any hope of changing your situation, you can't get stuck in a 'victim' mentality, which will only make things worse.
It's one thing to face challenges, and to work hard to figure out how to succeed despite those obstacles. It's another to decide nothing is going to work and waste time and energy ranting about how difficult you have it.
Yes, it's a tough job market. Yes, it takes a lot of work, can be very frustrating, and you face a lot of rejection. Yes, it's even harder when you are older. But there are jobs, there are people being hired, and while there are many people getting rejected over 50, there are also many people getting hired over 50.
Nobody wants to hire the depressed, or to have them joining their teams. Nobody wants to spend a lot of time around depressed people. And nobody wants to risk their own networking connections by providing introductions to 'victims'.
As I've written before, it's OK to have a small circle of trusted allies with whom you can rant when you really need to get your frustrations off your chest. That's healthy, and can allow you to get it out of your system so you can go back to being upbeat and positive in all public forums and even in private as much of the time as humanly positive. But when that private rant starts to spill over into your persona and presentation anywhere else, you really need to step back and stop yourself if you want to have any reasonable chance of success.
Don't just take my word for it - see what a corporate recruiter had to say on the subject.
So find a friend who can give you a reality check any time you feel yourself starting to slip into 'victim' mode. Really work to get as positive as you possibly can. Then work hard to figure out what's going wrong and what you can do better so you can start to achieve your goals.
Oh, and to go back to the person above, in one of the notes she also said this:
"Have over 6,000 résumés/applications out nationwide. Custom write each cover letter and custom résumé for the jobs I've applied to."
Even if she had an incredibly upbeat attitude, strong credentials extremely well presented in her résumé and cover letter, and were applying for the right jobs, she has just revealed a very weak job search strategy.
She has been spending huge amounts of time trying to muscle her way through the gatekeeping process, competing head to head with the vast number of others doing exactly the same thing. That would be a terrible strategy for anyone, but is about the worst way for someone who is a bit older to get hired.