Could you provide some advice? I’m 59, and am told I look young for my age. I’m fit and healthy but I’m struggling to get a job. Since being made redundant 18 months ago I’ve applied for over 4,000 jobs in project management or consultancy but during this time I’ve only had 19 interviews but no job offer. The past time I looked for a job was 10 years ago and then I was getting to interview and getting job offers to about a third of the jobs I applied for, and was able to turn jobs down.
When I reply to enquiries such as yours I choose to be quite blunt as I think people want practical suggestions not sympathy.
I want to leave the issue of your age to one side for the moment and look at the numerical details you included in your letter. Applying for over 4,000 jobs over 18 months averages 222 applications a month resulting in an invite to interview of one in 200 which is low. I honestly don’t know how anyone can properly apply for that number of jobs unless they are sending out stock letters and standard CVs to every application. We do have the recession now, but up till 6 months ago my personal clients were getting interviews on a ration of about 1 in 3 applications.
I encourage my clients to apply for a maximum of 5 jobs a week, and sometimes just 1 or 2, but to make sure that each application is the very best it can be. That means doing research, specifically targeting the company and adapting letter and CV. This would take a few hours for each one so could well take up half the week. Alongside this is utilising other methods of finding a job and building contacts – letting other people know about your skills and strengths and being clear on what you are looking for. There’s a need to use a range of job search methods, and this includes the ‘unadvertised market’ – contacting companies direct, arranging to talk with people who might know someone who can offer you a job, ‘improving your brand’ through social networking techniques.
With the interviews you have had, did you follow up – a letter after the interview to reinforce why you are a good match and if you were unsuccessful did you seek out feedback as to why you didn’t get the job?
There are many good people out there and short listing is to bring in for interview the very best candidate so perhaps your CV and covering letter needs to be reviewed.
Age may be an issue in some cases, but if you appear youthful in appearance and body language it might be that you need to revise your overall technique. I wrote my book, how to get a job in a recession specifically to help people whose approach isn’t working, so there may be some good information in the book for you.
I’d start tomorrow as the first day of your revised job search, and aim to refocus your approach.