Q: Dear Dr. Culp, Why do job postings state a minimum requirement, then give a range of 2 to 5 years? My experience says that this isnt a minimum, but a maximum, because theyre looking for someone young and want to appear not to be discriminating. Analytical
A: Dear Analytical, Your assessment could be correct. However, the two- to five-year range could allow for an older worker who reinvented himself or otherwise changed careers. It also could be the employers attempt to make certain that, if youre just out of school or have less than two years of experience, you wont apply.
Decide whether the ad is something youre very, very interested in exploring. If it is, apply anyway and, if you can, make your way into the company. Do some detective work. If theres a fax number, check a reverse directory. If theres an e-mail address, put the part after the @ sign in your browser. You might get some new information that could lead to an interview. mlc
Q: Dear Dr. Culp, How do I combine my varied experience and overcome my age to present myself to employers? I just turned 60 and have worked part-time in customer service and computer operations at a library for nearly four years, without medical benefits. I also have two freelance jobs sporadically. All I want is one full-time job with benefits.
I worked in insurance for nearly 30 years before going back to grad school for a master's in educational psychology. I wanted to be in college student services but immediately moved to another state. I must have sent out 200 resumes to colleges throughout southern U. S. and got exactly two interviews -- no job. For the last 11 years, Ive worked for two non-profits in administrative positions and edited a weekly newspaper. Unsure
A: Dear Unsure, Dont omit the type of job you want to get!
Find the threads that support your objective. Figure out what results you obtained in your various jobs. Decide how to organize the information when you see what you have. Build a resume around it.
The market is changing. You might have to pay for your own medical benefits. Its terribly expensive if youve ever had an employer covering them. mlc
Its easy to get stuck in a job-hunting rut where you cant think of anything new to try. Consider the case of Natalie Gilbert (natalienicolegilbert.com), who left Kentucky for California after one successful telephone interview. It must have made an impression.
They couldn't afford to fly me out and I couldn't afford the ticket myself, at the time, she says. This move, which came from a sister radio station in her conglomerate, promised the most of any bites she received. Shed never even heard of the station.
Gilbert points out that transferring within and selling yourself to a company in a region that youd ignored in the past are just two of the many things you can do to make sure you get employed. And as for the California gig?
I heard they had a running bet going that I wouldn't show up on my first day, she comments. Whod be willing to cross the country for a job she'd only accepted over the phone, after all? But when I did show up, my new general manager had to pay up to our program director . . . in the form of one In N' Out hamburger, as I recall.
(Dr. Mildred Culp welcomes your questions at firstname.lastname@example.org. Copyright 2010 Passage Media.)