Does Looking for Work After 60 Make You Ask, “What’s Wrong with Me?”
Of course, the answer is, “Nothing.” There is nothing wrong with me just as there is nothing wrong with you – in case you were wondering. However, I am in the age group considered to be old and undesirable for employment.
I am not alone! Since embarking on this Herculean task of obtaining gainful employment and posting my trials on my Facebook page, Aging Disgracefully, I have found so many women of a similar age in the same situation. They are all mid-60s to mid-70s.
I have heard from women in their 70s who have had to go back to teaching because they just can’t support themselves. Women in their 60s struggling to make the rent. Women of all ages who have lost everything through divorce or the death of a loved one.
Women who have no family or support, and others who have too much family. You know, those families who are looking for a doormat.
This seems to be a universal problem. I have received messages from women in the USA, in the UK, Australia, South Africa and even India. That one really threw me!
What’s Wrong with Me?
I concluded that there must be something wrong with me because not only was I not receiving acknowledgement of my applications, I wasn’t getting any interviews either. “Is it because of my age,” I wondered.
Here Are Four Things I Suggest You Do
I settled down, as you do, and spoke to a couple of recruitment agency ladies who had asked me in for an interview. They seemed to think it was a combination of looking for part-time work and my age.
It’s illegal for anyone to ask how old you are, so I can only assume they guess my age from the list of items on my CV!
Change Your Resume/CV
You must change your resume/CV. In the interests of working, I very soon learned to include whatever was relevant to the specific job. I have a variety of qualifications, which, to people looking to hire, make me over-qualified. Yes, that old chestnut!
Be prepared to bend the truth and give the employers what they want. In all honesty, you need to do that with the recruitment people as well.
Understand Political Correctness Is in Action
I can only talk about the UK, but here they have managed to raise political correctness to an unprecedented level. It’s like walking on eggshells. These people have little to no sense of humour.
It may be an age thing, but a lot of what goes on seems to be rampant stupidity! My advice is to smile sweetly and agree. I know, it’s not good for women our age but sometimes we must do it.
Limit Conversation About Your Capabilities
I am constantly being told by recruiters that I mustn’t say “I have excellent communication skills.” Apparently, employers think you’re being boastful and they don’t like it.
All I can say to that is, “Shame!” If you have a talent, you should be able to let people know, especially if you know they’re looking for it in a person/employee.
But, do not make the mistake of over selling your strengths and capabilities. They don’t like it, as I found when I went for an interview at a chiropractor’s office. You guessed it, I didn’t get the job.
If you’re looking for a job, then, like me, you will be facing the same bigotry or ageism because that’s what it is. Perhaps we can’t call people bigots nowadays. It may not be politically correct. But is does seem as though any woman up to 30 can get full or even part time work!
Despite ageism being outlawed, most employers prefer someone who looks young (ish). They do not seem to be interested in women who are intelligent, articulate, capable, wise and know how to behave in any environment. I know, fellow job-seekers, that you have found this to be true.
How to Find Work in Your 60s
I would love to be able to offer a viable option to help solve this problem, but I really can’t.
I have my own business and I write. I run courses and a variety of other things, but they are all solitary pursuits and I really want to be able to communicate with other human beings. The money would come in handy too!
My only suggestion is that you register with every recruitment organisation possible and hope they get your specs right – good luck with that one!
Spend a couple of hours every morning going through the jobs recruiters send you. Apply and send a very focused cover letter. The worst that can happen is you’ll be rejected. Or ignored. You simply must keep on keeping on.
Avoid stress. Meditate, walk or do anything that lowers the frustration level. I have considered going back into coaching. Review all the talents you have and how you may be able to revive them. But that, of course, is a topic for another article.
Are you looking for work? Have you been forced to return to work? What have you done to get work? Please share – we all need a hand on this one.
Penelope Whiteley is a coach and mentor. Her lifestyle blog for women over 50, focuses on beauty, fitness and fashion and travel for the solo woman, as well as lifestyle and anti-aging.