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Old and Outdated (OAO)
Dear “Old and Outdated”,
You have asked an excellent question, which I hear often from job seekers. From my experience, the best approach to deal with these concerns is to make sure that you are conducting the best possible job search, in which you show potential employers how you could be a valuable asset to their company.
For more advice, I consulted two experts who offered their perspectives:
- Cosimo De Leo, a Senior Corporate Recruiter at a local and renowned land development and engineering firm and recognised SME (Subject Matter Expert) in the sector, offers his view on how and why job seekers get called for interviews
- Farah Alizadehahi, one of JVS Toronto’s leading Mentoring Coaches and Employment Counsellors suggests ways of enhancing your job search
I am sure you find their advice useful
1. Cosimo De Leo has the following pearls of wisdom to respond to OAO’s concerns:
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 pre-determined criteria of the role which is written in the job description.
Most importantly, I recommend that the job seeker ask herself whether she is targeting her resume and cover letter to specific jobs and applying for positions for which she is qualified.
Before applying for a job, I recommend :
- Analyze and understand the job, its responsibilities and requirements, and be honest with yourself, as well as in your resume and cover letter.
- Target your resume and cover letter for what you CAN do.
- Be realistic; if the job calls for 10 years experience and you do not have this, then do not apply for the job. The only exception is if you can offer something special to the project that relates to what recruiters call “the deal-breakers” (must-haves) — then, the recruiter may be open to less years’ experience.
- Have an action plan; if there is a particular role you are interested in and you don’t have all the mandatory requirements, explain this in the cover letter. Mention what you are doing to acquire the required skills and experience and to compensate for this gap, such as taking a course or volunteering at a relevant company or organization.
- Develop a plan to keep track of the jobs for which you applied; as a recruiter, it is discouraging when I call an applicant and he or she has no clue about the position they applied for
- Use Social Media (LinkedIn) to connect with recruiters. We use LinkedIn to source qualified candidates; it helps with networking and is excellent for time management.
Cosimo de Leon,
Senior Corporate Recruiter
2. Farah Alizadehahi, one of JVS Toronto’s leading Mentoring Coaches and Employment Counsellors, offers this advice:
I am sorry you feel that way, and I absolutely understand your concerns. I am not sure if your age is the reason you are not hearing from employers. If you were getting interviews, but not job offers, it may be more possible that your age could have been one of the reasons. But if employers are not meeting you in person, they should not have any basis upon which to make such a decision.
You say that you have emailed around 500 resumes this month and no one has called you. That definitely shows one thing: your resume is not doing what it is supposed to do, i.e. leading to an interview.
A well prepared, targeted resume should highlight your qualifications and skills, which in turn should match the needs of the employer. Only then you could expect your resume to catch employers’ attention, and motivate them to pick up the phone and invite you for an interview.
Here are my suggestions:
- Seek help from a local Employment Ontario centre to revise your resume and refresh your job search techniques, such as cover letters, labour market information, networking (including social media), and interview skills. (Keep in mind that we have five such centres throughout the GTA.)
- Make sure that your computer skills are updated and meet the expectations of your profession/industry, and that this is clearly indicated on your resume.
- Network in person and online; create a LinkedIn profile, if you don’t have one. Use it to extend your network and find some of those less widely advertised jobs.
- Plan and conduct a targeted job search; i.e. identify specific companies and jobs, research companies, target your resume and cover letters, and prepare carefully for potential interviews.
- Review your progress periodically (weekly or bi-weekly), and revise your approach accordingly — consider how many resumes you sent, how many interviews you attended, the feedback you got from interviews, etc.
I wish you success with your job search.
Mentoring Coach and Employment Counsellor
P.S. OAO, I hope you found these tips useful.
All the best with your job search — please report back to tell us how it goes!
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