Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Working The Job Market

I know, I know ... I'm still trying to get the links from the Festival of Frugality to work.  In the meantime, here's something that's been on my mind for a long time now, and I'd be happy to hear any suggestions you care to offer.

When I was first laid off, I didn't panic.  I'd been expecting it for a while, and I had my strategy firmly in place.  I was going to be optimistic but realistic; in other words, I was hoping to find another job right away, but not counting on it.  I'd acquired a lot of valuable, marketable skills and experience over the years, and while I knew how badly the economy was tanking in the States, I didn't think things were that bad here in Canada.

I was wrong.  Massively, stupendously wrong.

The first clue was finding out how long my E.I. was good for.  I'd expected the usual  -  seven or eight months of benefits (after the waiting period engendered by my severance pay).  But seventeen months????  Wow, I thought, maybe getting another job isn't going to be as easy as I counted on.

The second clue was finding out how many hundreds of other applicants there were for every job posting in my field.  And ninety-plus percent of them were younger than I am.  Much younger.  They don't have any experience, but they all seem to have diplomas; a combination that made them far more attractive to potential employers.  The diplomas meant they knew all the industry terms and buzzwords, but their youth and inexperience meant that they could be offered a much lower wage.

Okay, time to look for ways to counter that.

Training credentials added to resume?  Check.  Grey hair dyed back to my original colour?  Check.  Stated salary expectations modified in my cover letter templates?  Check.

Experience understated in my resume?  No, no, and no.  Why not?  I look at it this way  -  if an employer can get someone with my level of skills and experience for what they'd pay a relative newcomer, surely that makes me a more attractive prospect.  Doesn't it?

And sure enough, I'm getting a lot more calls and interviews ... but none of them go anywhere.  And whenever I ask  -  politely, of course!  -  if there is some particular reason I wasn't chosen, I get variations of the same answer.  They didn't believe that someone with my experience would be happy working for the salary they were offering.

So my question is:  Why can't any of these people figure out that if I wasn't prepared to be satisfied with what they were offering, I wouldn't have applied for job in the first place?


1 comment:

  1. My boyfriend and I are all too familiar with that sentiment. He's actually dumbed down his resume several times and was still told, "With all your experience here, I just think you can do a lot better than what we're offering and there are a lot of kids around here that really need this job." If he wasn't prepared for what they would offer and didn't need the money, why would he apply?


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