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Why can't I even get an interview?

(25 Posts)
franckiesmum Thu 15-Dec-16 14:13:49

I've had a few career breaks over the years - to focus on family or private matters - but have never found it difficult to get back into work afterwards.

I have a really wide skill-set in Project Management, Marketing and Executive Assistant roles, however, I've applied for lots of jobs and don't even get past the first hurdle.

I only apply for roles where I know I have the right skills, experience or education but am getting nowhere. I live in the South West so jobs aren't plentiful but even those roles I think are a shoe-in, I just get the usual reply that I am not being taken forward.

I'm beginning to think that the only reason can be ageism, although I'm not someone who generally looks for an "ism" or an "ist" as an excuse for someone's behaviour.

I'm 53, very experienced, make sure I keep up to date with trends, attend training courses etc but nothing.

What could I be doing wrong?

PhoebeBo Thu 15-Dec-16 14:16:46

Sympathies I have the same problem im currently cleaning sad

AndShesGone Thu 15-Dec-16 14:28:19

They recommend not to put your age on cv's don't they? And no dates for uni or employment periods.

toffeeboffin Thu 15-Dec-16 14:30:22

It's tough I know OP.

Obviously don't list your age on your CV.

And keep it concise, two pages maximum. This may mean only including the last ten years of work history.

Have you got a LinkedIn profile? If not, get one.

franckiesmum Thu 15-Dec-16 14:48:12

I do have a linkedin profile and I have tried taking dates off my CV although this doesn't work with some companies who want you to fill in an application form online and it won't go through unless all the dates are entered.

I just applied for a PA job today in my local town and took a lot off my CV so it wouldn't seem like I was overqualified. I've worked as a PA before in really large corporates but my application was once again rejected.

Just working through my CV now to see how I can make it look more appealing!

FabulouslyGlamourousFerret Thu 15-Dec-16 15:37:13

My DH had exactly the same, definitely ageism, it's not hard to work out someone's each even if the omit dates (if you did O levels you are 45+ for example) he did find somewhere in the end so keep on going

FabulouslyGlamourousFerret Thu 15-Dec-16 15:37:45

* Someone's age

GummyBunting Thu 15-Dec-16 15:40:51

I have a very similar skill set and have been applying for project management type jobs, and also haven't got a single interview. I'm 28 so it can't be ageism.

I don't know what the answer is I'm afraid.

MotherOfMinions Fri 16-Dec-16 13:36:10

I'm around the same age as you but in a different industry and I'm having the same problems as you Frankie I definitely think ageism has a lot to do with it. It makes me wonder what's going to happen now the pension age has risen to nearly 70 but you're considered past it for a new job once you've hit 45.

Hellmouth Fri 16-Dec-16 13:39:34

Unfortunately, I think it is most likely to be ageism. Stats show that people in their 40s - 50s find it harder to find work than their younger peers. Also, having taken time off work for family might be seen as a negative, even though it shouldn't be. Maybe you can do some voluntary work whilst you're looking? Really wish I had more advice sad

I also think that there are less jobs out there. Keep persevering, you'll find something!

80sWaistcoat Fri 16-Dec-16 13:43:07

Talking to people directly - if you can get a foot in the door - might be a good idea. It's much easier to explain then what your career ideas are.

Unfortunately I think this is an unforeseen consequence of age discrimination legislation - now there's no way of making people retire at a particular age - firms are more reluctant to take older workers on.

hutchblue Fri 16-Dec-16 19:08:56

Could you volunteer somewhere at a charity for a while.
I know it's very frustrating to have to work for free but it's a good way to network in your local area and find out what's going on and meet people.
Also get in touch with your local chamber of commerce and explain what's going on and if they have any advice.
Often they know who is hiring currently and if you'd be a good fit.
The only other thing I'd suggest is trying to set up your own company doing something and I think increasingly we'll see that happening with people hitting their 50s, knowing they've got many years left of work to go and think sod this, I'm going to try and do my own thing. You know you know stuff, you're good at what you do. You'll find a way.
Just keep going. I know how hard it is though.
Good luck. xx

kew1234 Fri 16-Dec-16 19:19:51

I would suggest setting up some appointments with the main agencies in the location you want to work. The good ones (and they do exist - may take a couple of try's to find one) will go through your CV for you, put it into their forms and put you forward for suitable jobs that come up. It is in there interest to place you (as its how they get paid) so they will ring up the hirer to discuss this fabulous candidate they have for them. Especially if you are management this is a better route. Tip when choosing an agency, check out their website, the front of their office - are they advertising the types of positions you would be interested in? Are they at the right salary level? If not move on to the next one. Also would you be interested in temp to perm or contract work to get yourself some paid recent experience. Be open to Temp/Contract and permanent opportunities.

MikeUniformMike Fri 16-Dec-16 19:23:13

I never thought of taking dates off the qualifications. Brilliant idea. Thanks.
I keep being told that I am too experienced.
I really need to get a job and it is very depressing. The words 'on the scrap heap' springs to mind.

Looking at things slightly differently, this year has been a bit odd. The referendum hasn't helped. 53 isn't old.

Emphasise your skills, your competence, your reliability. Tailor your cover letter to show that you are interested in the company and are looking for a long term position. Put a professional-looking photo on your linked in profile. Try looking for interim/temp work too, if you're not doing so already, as it might get a foot in the door.

Very best wishes. Fingers crossed we get jobs soon.

SallyGinnamon Fri 16-Dec-16 22:15:02

I'm not sure it's age. I'm 51 and haven't had that problem.

How long has your last gap been? And how often do you have gaps? That might be your issue - if your cv looks like you might not be there for the duration in your next job.

If you're in a gap right now remember that there will be other candidates out there working in that type of role currently. With the exact experience they want. You might need to go down a few rungs and build yourself back up.

Probably teaching grandma to suck eggs if you've done marketing, but do you tweak your cv for each job and make it clear why that job with that particular company rather than eg a marketing role full stop.

When I was recruiting I wanted to know why someone wanted to work in my company specifically - what made us different to the competition in their eyes. The worst candidate was a man in his 50s who just did a presentation about himself and why he wanted a job. Didn't make any link between his experience and what we wanted.

alwaysbusybusy Sat 17-Dec-16 16:14:53

I am sorry to hear you are having a hard time. I can sympathise as it seems that unless you are employed already with no gaps it is harder to get work. I too am struggling to get project management roles etc (and I have a 2 year old).

Have you thought about looking into some free online courses to add to your CV? I am sure with your wealth of experience you don't need to learn more. But it can help to show that you are current - Google for example do some great free courses: digitalgarage.withgoogle.com/?gclid=CjwKEAiA4dPCBRCM4dqhlv2R1R8SJABom9pH4ZiVJjbEaEkEpsfUr3pO0V0bLt_ZhvBjd7e9fM0mKBoCudTw_wcB&dclid=CNWenLPP-9ACFUOs7Qod6oMMFQ

I have also started doing some new agile PM qualifications and joining up to some free forums that run locally to network. It is worthwhile making contact with local recruiters and attending any networking events that they offer.

On top of that I agree with a lot of what people say about getting to know local companies and thinking about how you can add in why you specifically want to work with them on cover letters etc.

Best of luck, it's really hard.

tribpot Sat 17-Dec-16 16:21:34

An agile PM course or qualification might be useful for you as alwaysbusy says.

Have you asked for feedback about why you weren't shortlisted in the previous applications? Is contracting an option? (Although the lack of recent experience could be a significant hurdle to this).

Are there any networking events you could attend, particularly any that are women focused? For example, in my sector Healthtech Women would be a good event to attend.

Have you approached any agencies, rather than only applying for jobs direct?

MikeUniformMike Sat 17-Dec-16 18:53:19

In my local library I have seen many books with names like Blah For the Over 50s. Ageist or what.

LadyLapsang Thu 22-Dec-16 13:39:31

Depending on the role / level, you may be competing with young people who may be willing to work for very little to get their foot in the door. Unexplained gaps in CVs can be worrying - the sift panel may be thinking, 'What private matter? / Will this person be reliable?' And whether or not you have the date against your qualifications, if you have O Levels on your CV the panel will have some idea of your age. Could you perhaps join a relevant professional organisation to extend your network; also second the idea of voluntary work in your field. Have you asked for feedback on your CV? Even weird fonts and layouts can put people off.

mumznet Thu 29-Dec-16 23:19:49

Hi ,
not an age issues at all. my most recent interview short listed 20 people for ONE position. it might be that a few don't turn up but otherwise its me in competition with 20 others. So, my point is lost of applicants and less jobs. so, at any age this can be a struggle, I got turned down recently but was at the top and so were 3 others so its competitive because of more people. hope that helps .

mumznet Thu 29-Dec-16 23:21:35

sorry I meant me against 19 others [sh

mumznet Thu 29-Dec-16 23:24:30

sorry I meant me against 19 others shock

BagelGoesWalking Thu 29-Dec-16 23:44:03

Taking your age off a cv doesn't make any difference. If you fill in education/uni, including years, then your current age is easily calculated from that.

I recently put my cv on some online agencies, when I discussed possible posts with agencies, they were far more interested in the gaps in my cv and specifically said my age wasn't an issue (I asked them about, I'm 51). They did ask me to tweak my cv to fully explain gaps (bereavement, redundancy etc) so perhaps that's the issue.

mumznet Fri 30-Dec-16 12:28:55

I always thought employers don't see our age so I am confused why some people think age is an issue?

BagelGoesWalking Sat 31-Dec-16 14:48:50

Even if you don't specifically mention your age, you would put any education/qualifications on your cv which includes dates, so age can be worked out from that.

Online applications usually require same info.

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