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Career Workshop: what’s wrong with my applications?

Trying to get to the bottom of why your application techniques aren’t working is the first step to finding a new job, says renowned career coach, Denise Taylor. But it requires facing some tough questions.

I’m a man aged 64, youthful in appearance and have applied for over 4,000 IT Senior Management or Consulting jobs in 18 months, both permanent and contract, in the UK and overseas. I have ‘covered the field’ and in my view, all have been jobs that I could do at least ‘well’ – mostly in the field of Project and Programme Management. I’ve gained 19 interviews for permanent jobs and none for contract. Some of these proceeded as far as final interview. I’ve not been offered any of the jobs I applied for whereas once, if I got to interview I was most likely to be offered the job. Should I give up looking because (a) I have been out of ‘career’ work for over a year and (b) my age, or (c) for any other reason?

Mick Georgeson

expert-top-tips-how-to-get-a-job-in-a-recession-denise-taylorAnswer: Denise Taylor replies:

Dear Mick,

When I reply to enquiries such as yours I choose to be quite blunt as I think people want practical suggestions and not sympathy.

I want to leave the issue of your age to one side for the moment and look at the numerical details you’ve included in your letter. Applying for over 4,000 jobs over 18 months averages 222 applications a month resulting in an invite to interview ration of 1 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 for every application. We do have the recession now, but up till six months ago my personal clients were getting interviews on a ratio of about 1 in 3 applications.

I encourage my clients to apply for a maximum of five jobs a week (and sometimes just one or two), but to make sure that each application they make is the very best it can be. That means doing your research, specifically targeting the company and adapting your letter and CV. This would take a few hours for each one, so could well take up half the week. Alongside this, I advise them to utilise other methods of finding a job and to build 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 directly, 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 with 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 aims to bring only the very best candidates in for interview, so perhaps your CV and covering letter need 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.

Denise is a Chartered Occupational Psychologist, Registered Guidance Practitioner, and founder of Amazing People. For more career guidance, visit www.amazingpeople.co.uk.

For more career-related advice, visit www.jobsite.co.uk

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  • Beatriz V.Garzon

    Dear Ms Taylor,

    Your e-mail is a reasonable reply and professional candidates would think that research and targeting specific companies and roles is the way to go.

    I was made redundant in mid June and unfortunately, the redundancy took immediate effect and there were no benefits attached to it.

    Two days after my redundancy I started looking for a job within the industry I have always worked for (over 12 years in the travel and hospitality industry in different European countries).
    After working on my new CV, I loaded it in every known website starting by those specific to the industry (Travolution and Caterer) and finishing with more generic sites (Monster, Totaljobs, etc.)
    Additionally, I have registered with recruitment agencies for which I have contacts I call every week to check on any new positions.

    I have been applying for an average of 5-7 jobs weekly adapting my cover letter and CV after I have read and understood the job description and what the company is looking for.

    Since June to now, I have been called twice for interviews. The first interview was for a position that the agency totally mismatched to my skills. The job advertised was for a contractor however, during the interview I was told the job was to make bookings into hotels which has nothing to do with contracting at all.

    The second interview was with a very well known and reputable company within the industry, they are also well known for their gruelling recruitment process.
    The job advert was the same type of job I have been doing for the past 3 years and so I applied directly to the employer with a proper cover letter and a CV.
    I get a phone call and pass the initial interview ‘screening’ on the phone. I get ready for the one-to-one interview, I research the company in terms of production, future plans, products, clients, etc. I meet up with friends who have been working for the company and who can give me a good insight and opinion on the company culture, etc.
    I buy a book called 12 steps program to interview success which I read and find really interesting so I apply the tips and advice given.
    I spent 4 days getting ready for this interview.

    As far as I can see the interview goes well, after so much preparation none of the questions caught me by surprise. I wasnt nervous as I was well prepared. The day after I send a follow-up email to the HR department thanking them for the opportunity

    A week after, they send me an email saying how good my extensive work experience was, how well I engaged and how well suited I was for the job however, they had decided not to take my application further (?)

    They didnt give me any reasons. I asked for feedback that I am still waiting for (3 weeks have past)

    My point is that it doesnt seem to matter how well you are suited for the job or much you prepare that in one blink a company will not hesitate to push you aside
    First I get made redundant after 3 years of impecable service which of course I am unable to prove here but it was and the reason for redundancy was not based on performance. Within 24 hours a company managed to compromise my whole future and commitments, two months have passed and my situation is still uncertain.

    Then an apparent good interview goes wrong and they dont even send you feedback so that you can improve for your next interview.

    Job advertising/hunting is a two way process and if candidates are asked to be professional from the moment they send a cover letter, companies should be demanded to be as professional not only when handling candidates but when handling their staff when they have been working for them

    Another company has asked me to travel to Hythe (from Surrey) for an interview however, when I ask the agency if the company would be willing to share the travel expenses, I am told that the Job Centre should be paying for that. Job Seekers allowance is GBP64 a week and the train fair is GBP40…
    It’s only fair and practical that costs are shared as it might result in a beneficial partnership and I shouldnt have to feel bad for asking.

    If candidates are asked to take full responsibility, be highly professional and go the extra mile, I havent got a problem with it however, employers should be doing the same

    Thank you
    Beatriz V.Garzon

  • Clive Stacey

    Beatriz,
    It sounds like you are still better at losing your job, get over it and move on.

    I agree with your comments about professionalisum, being a little antaganistic isn’t.

    Interesting letter though.

    Regards.

  • Russell Edwards

    Beatriz,

    With regards to travelling expenses, go and speak to someone at the JobCentre as they will usually pay expenses to attend job interviews.

    Regards

  • TG

    Beatriz – this is the link to the Travel to Interview scheme.
    http://www.direct.gov.uk/en/Employment/Jobseekers/programmesandservices/DG_173631

    You will need to get the form signed in the Job Centre before you travel. For rail travel they issue a travel warrant that you exchange for a full ticket. For bus travel keep the tickets and claim after, but still get them to authorise the form beforehand.

    I know it is probably too late for that role, but this is for next time. Good luck!

  • David Reed

    The scheme that you are talking about is the Travel To Interview scheme. You should contact the Job Centre before travel and, if possible, have written details (confirmation) about the interview. There will be a form to fill in. After the interview, go to the Job Centre and let them know that you have been for the interview. They will then confirm with the interviewer if you have been to the interview and will sort out payment. The scheme is only for specific jobs and not for an interview at an agency, the scheme is for outside the job centre’s local area.

  • Mona Das

    Hi All,
    My story is very similar to Beatriz’s. I was made redundant in February of ’09 and since then, I have applied to a number of job roles. I have done extensive research on the companies I have applied to. I have modified my letter and CV to suit the job description and have done everything possible, which includes registering with various agencies and consulting a CV reviewer at the jobsearch open day, but I have had only 2 interviews in the past 6 months and both went very well. According to one of the employers, when they called to let me know Ithat didn’t get the job, they said “You interviewed very well, you said all the right things during the interview, but unfortunately we decided to offer the job to another candidate as there were too many good candidates and it was very difficult to make the choice”

    The second one did not even bother to give me a feedback. I just had a letter stating I wasn’t successful.

    Since then, I have had so many CV rejection letters that I have lost count of them.

    I am 31 and educated to a Master’s degree level and have been promoted several times in my previous jobs.

    In my last job, I joined at a very low salary and position as I have had to start afresh since immigrating to the UK. I was quickly promoted to a manager’s level after 14 months and my salary almost doubled. Unfortunately, after all the hard work, extra time worked without pay, and stress, the reward I received was a redundancy notice.

    I am now ready for even low paid contract jobs as we have to keep up with the mortgage payments for our house which we bought only a month before my redundancy, but I am still not getting any positive responses.

    I think, it all depends on your luck! It doesn’t matter how good or how hardworking you are!

  • glyn webster

    Hi,
    My story is very similar; I was on a probationary period which ended as the recession bit hard, so no option could be given due to short time working and possible redundancies. I was laid off with immediate effect, no severance either.

    I had comments about my CV, so did the professional job on it (costly!) and was guaranteed interviews within 8 weeks because ‘that was their job’, I have had two interviews in 4 months, both with agencies advertising the positions, not an actual employer, and out of 386 applications I have had 6 total replies, all rejections. I have prepared several covering letters to change for each application, still no replies, so if the industry wishes the employees to be professional, then they must act by the same code to earn employee respect. I have done no research on prospective companies, because I have not had an opportunity to get near one yet, only agencies. It appears that most companies these days are hiding behind the shield of recruitment agencies because of the influx of applications, so may I suggest that Ms Taylor turns her efforts of persuasion on the companies themselves and not prospective employees, who I believe are doing all the right things.

  • Terry Crane

    Having read the scenario from Mike, the comments from Denise, the real life experience from Beatriz and the responses that follow I’ve found it quite cathartic.

    Like Mona and others, my story is similar. Denise’s comments are provided as a way to help people amd we should recognise them as such.
    Personally, I’ve had a high ratio of interviews to applications but not yet had the answer “Yes”.
    I too am bewildered by the lack of feedback or the paucity of it but accept that people are too busy in the current climate to spend quality time on everyone and live with it consoling myself with an “if at first you don’t succeed ….” attitude.

    We may all be best to hold onto the words of WS Churchill – ” Every no you recieve takes us one step closer to yes!”.

    Thanks Mike, Denise, Beatriz and others for helping me to remain positive.

  • Mike Pickles

    Mick I am afraid after 55 the chances of finding a job today in the advertised job market or via agencies is pretty slim, try B&Q or ASDA, or let me make a suggestion, use your IT skills and create your own job, there must be 100′s of SME’s in your area with dodgy IT setups and if they failed could take the owner hours to sort out. Why not set your yourself up trading as ‘audIT’ and go out and audit IT systems and provide an audit report with recommendations, it must be worth £75 a visit, and I am sure you could do 3 – 4 /day.

    good luck

  • Glenn

    I empathise with all the postings on this board, I was made redundant at 3 days notice over 20 months ago, my company, a CD/DVD Manufacturer was taken over by a much larger EU competitor that reneged upon all takeover agreements; they immediately asset stripped the company, liquidated it and held all staff on retainers 5 months then filed bankruptcy. 9 years hard work as Sales & Marketing Director investing so much effort and commitment building a small 3 employee start up into a 240 employee internationally respected industry leader was suddenly wiped out. My industry since globally collapsed so I have no contacts I could network with to find alternative employment within the industry.
    I have a documented track-record of 25+ years consistently dynamic commercial achievements driving company growth, development and expansion at national / international levels, I am highly experienced in many industry sectors; I own a wealth of highly transferable skills, qualifications, prestigious achievements and have exceptional references from employers and former clients at boardroom levels; however none of this appears to be of interest to recruiters or agencies, all that seems to matter these days is what contacts do you have that you can poach and bring to the table.
    I am registered on over 30 jobs boards, my CV has been professionally written, it covers my skills, qualifications, key achievements and benefits I have to offer and invest. I paid almost £200 to have my CV distributed by an allegedly industry leader in this line of work, it generated 2 responses both informing me that they were not recruiters.
    I have lost count of how many advertised jobs that that throughout my career I have done and exceeded in with immense success, and within industry sectors I have vast experience of; I have applied for so many and receive an automated generated rejection response within 10 seconds of hitting the send button. Very recently I challenged one such agency that immediately responded to my application by sending me a rejection email within 10 seconds of having applied for the position. I challenged this with the recruiter and 24 hours later received a reply from the MD who confirmed it was company policy to reject all applications received because they were too inundated to check through the CVs.
    The next barrier appears to be the growing number of agencies that hide as much information as they possibly can when posting job adverts, frequently these adverts will not even specify the industry sector the company operates in, they also dress up the positions to the point I have been forwarded for numerous interviews only to discover the actual company requirements are a million miles away from the details given by agencies. This has resulted in wasting my time, recruiters time, and several incidents where I walked away because the company was just not a suited match.

    I regularly receive contact from agencies providing me with details on jobs that appear to be a perfect match, I get told they are sending my details to the recruiter, I receive positive feed back that the company is very keen to see me, I sit waiting patiently for the interviews to be set up, I wait, I wait , I wait; I get no further action or recruitment consultants follow up, it appears their so called close relationships with recruiters are not as they think, I am told I am left in limbo because the recruiter has failed to follow through.

    The latest scam that I and several others have experienced are companies falsely advertising jobs they have no intention of fulfilling, what they are really after is to pick the brains of experienced business professionals and lead them up the garden path. Very recently as part of an interview for Sales Director with a Designs & Promotions Agency in Horsham, West Sussex I was supplied company information and requested to make a power point presentation on how I would build the company, expand into new markets, and build and train the business teams. The MD / Proprietor of the company loved my presentation and confirmed she wished to implement my proposals / plan. I was then held in limbo for 5 weeks waiting for her final decision having already indicated she was going to make me the offer; the offer finally came, as Junior Sales Manager 50% less than the package advertised and in a few months time when her company starts their recruitment campaign. I tactfully queried how she could reach this decision when she had already confirmed she wished to implement my business plans; I had delivered everything on her criteria and had the skills, experience and exceptional references to support my ability to deliver the plans. She became offensive, withdrew the offer and further investigations revealed she had duped 3 other executives into providing her with free business consultancy.
    As for travel expenses yes your local jobseekers office will cover these expenses where the interview is outside of the area, it’s 25p per mile if using your own car, you need to provide evidence of the interview and they will make a telephone call to check, you then report back after the interview and they will again call to check you attended. It’s tough, particularly when pitching at management positions, JSA checking up on you not only questions your honesty and integrity but also does nothing for your image in the eyes of the recruiter, all the effort of looking the part, doing your research, having the dazzling CV, skills and experience can be, and frequently is undermined by that fearful JSA call, just because you need financial support in covering travelling expenses.

    Despite the above remarkably I have been able to keep a sense of optimism for the future, the government cannot be held singularly responsible for the economic state this country is in, companies are now approaching the stage where they being tired of sitting on the fence waiting to see which way the wind will blow; are now taking the stance that it’s time to drive forward, they require the skills and experience, sadly they are in much misguided in placing their trust in recruitment agencies to solve their needs, could it be that agencies will finally wake up to the fact that we the job seekers are their lifeblood, their incomes, their bonuses and start responding in a proactive, positive way?

  • Gill

    Having read all the above comments, I know I am not the only one suffering from non-replies, be it either from a job agency or a firm.

    I am a legal secretary with 20 years’ legal secretarial experience under my belt and my typing speeds are 80-90 wpm with a high level of accuracy. I was made redundant December 2006, but managed to get long-term temping jobs (up to 10 months) since then. However, in July 2008 I was made “redundant” from my “permanent” temp job.

    It is very disheartening and demoralising having to sign on when you have never had to do it in the past.

    At the end of October I managed to get a 3 month temp job which finished at the beginning of February this year. Since then I have been out of work. My JobSeekers Allowance has terminated and I am not entitled to any further benefits whatsoever.

    As to having your CV re-vamped professionally, if you are unemployed and signing on, this will be done through the Job Centre. I only learned this because I sent my CV for a free check-up and the consultant came back and said it needed re-vamping drastically. It was he who told me about quoting a particular reference number to the Job Centre and then having your CV re-worked professionally. I was given this code together with the firm’s number and they have done a marvellous job after speaking to me for about an hour on the telephone.

    I have registered with umpteen employment agencies, internet agencies and receive e-mails with job specifications. Most of these are from employment agencies. I have wondered for a long time whether these jobs are spurious. I have never ever got a reply from an employment agency, have received the odd reply from a firm. I have virtually given up applying through agencies as they sift through and decide who they will put forward.

    Although ageism is illegal here, I know that it is still rife! Don’t put your age on your CV. One firm called me because they were interested in my CV and once I told them my age, nothing has happened.

    It is an employers’ market today. If they want a one-eyed, three-legged, sky blue pink with polka dots martian with five antennae, they will wait until they get one. They won’t consider anyone who has one item missing!

  • Nick

    All these above, I read with interest…its all a familiar story. Employers seem to be able to get exactly what they want in a prospective employee, i.e. one exactly matching their requirements. Forget “transferable skills”, it seems you can only do exaxctly the same job you did before as there will always be somebody who has done exactly the job you are going for. I guess we are all born in the wrong time if we want to have work and be able to sell our skills on a really open employment market. It looks horribly like this country is just grossly overpopulated with just too few available empoyment opportunities. It is good to see some jobseekers are feeling hard done by with prospective employers and agencies. They are taking the proverbial in many cases and there is a growing “unemployment industry” in this country which has nothing much in it for us, the job seekers! Its true, you never give up and each no brings us closer to a yes…but will we just run out of life before we get there!! Anyway enough of this, better get on with some job applications…here goes nothing!

  • Beatriz

    I can’t believe the stories written after I first posted my response to Ms Taylor back in August

    I know it’s not the answer but I am glad to know I am not the only one in this horrible situation and that it can’t be that everything am doing is wrong

    Like Gill says this is an employers’ market and they seem to be getting away with murder, same with recruitment agencies where they only seem to be interested in pocketing their big fat commission checks regardless. I can only imagine how their weekly meetings must be when they have to report how many placements they have managed to do

    Like many of you I also have lots of transferable skills I could use in doing other jobs if necessary but forget about ‘changing careers’ if you cant even manage to get a job within the industry you’ve working for so many years

    Today I got a phone call offering me to do a course about personal career and development to help me get back to work, cv tips, etc… as though I hadn’t been trying for the past 5 months. I don’t need to do another useless course to tell me what I already know, what I need is a job. This is just another way to ‘distract’ people from what it really is happening: there are no jobs

    I work in the travel industry and I can name the one dozen of job ads that have been going around the hundreds of websites and agencies every week for the past 4/5 months. Whether these jobs exist or not I simply don’t know. Responses from recruitment agencies are vague and dont lead to any clear results. It remains a mystery how employers are unable to find the right placement with the amount of professionals out of work

    I wont tell about all the disastrous stories that have happened since August but I am surprised I am still being quite positive about it all and how I believe something good is going to come along soon, half of the city of London knows I am looking for a job !!

    However, this is all disheartening and worrying too and am thinking we might all be better off setting up business for psychological therapy… Society’s self inflicted gunshot

  • julie McKeown

    As i have sat here and read all the comments in response to Beatriz and her situation, although not a good place to be for any one i do not now feel that i am the only one who feels that way.
    I was made redundant last October 2008 after four and half years with the company. As it was a well known construction company and the recession had started to take a hold every one in the office had the feeling it was inevitable someone would have to go. I was the eldest in the office at the time “53″ the others all in their 20,s with the exception of the site manager. I was the first and only one to go. I could go on about how i felt at the time,but i think those of you who have been in that situation,will understand how demoralising it can be and it dose compound the ageism theory.
    Since 1999 i have been made redundant 4 times,it dose not fill you with great confidence when filling in the long application forms with your employment history,education history,further education courses, all reveal your age without ever putting your date of birth in black ink next to your name.

    I hope in time things will change and we will all be in employment again soon, optimism is a great thing,i hope it dose not let us down.

    Good luck to all

  • Chav

    I have been out of work for neary two years. I have seen all the above I have paid the monies to have CVs written and have them distributed allover the UK, or have done it myself.

    They say a camel is a horse designed by a committee. It is similar with CVs every one has a different opinion. So you’ll go round in circles if you listen to everyone..

    The lack of feed back is disturbing matter as it leaves the job seeker in a hole with no light or direction. When I interviewed people I was astonished to be told that a well experienced ( probably the best suited) person was too old by a lawyer!.

    You cannot practically research every job you apply for imagine two years at about three a week. I have had two interviews in 21 months one was a mismatch ? the other I felt was a consultation which ended up in a reduction of the salary being offered to those down stream from me.

    I must admit I have never been confronted with more than twenty applicants for a post. I have heared others say that they have rejected applicants because they didn’t like the writing, the spelling, and numerous incredulous excuses. So you’ll not be able to cope for any outcome.

    I beleive that agencies are blockers and only go for what they consider perfect fits ie some one who has done the same job. Well as same as you can get. They grey areas of language and knowledge of the positions are, it seems, quite broad so I think the first indicators are the job title otherwise they might have to plough through a100 or more CVs to find a match. Thsi matching is even more prominent if its domne electronically. ( hey but which programme are they usuing withits own set of power word matches?Which is mathematically the lowest denominator? I think its the title.
    So if you’ve got an odd job title such as a parts interpretor????

    Most people have caught on to the job discription skills required and match yours to meet theirs. What is the lowest common denominator here? They’ve all got the skills matched up! Gosh every one has got a degree these days…I mean its only an administrators job for £13 ! Time is pressing and I really want to give time to that £60K a year candidate and get my weeks numbers up mmm I know !…the first ten to arrive or the first ten in alphabetical order the first ten nearest to the jobe site.

    If you look at sport and human achievement you’ll notice that the top ten of tennis players car drivers boxers sprinters is down to tenths of seconds it is mahtamtically probabale that this statistics shows up in CV and job applications and makes decisions difficult… “Hip dip my little ship sailing on the ocean sea”
    So my job seeker friends if you’re the eleventh and you are perfect… tough. Read, design ponder, illuminate ,re hash that letter, pay for advice or a CV change it and the letter untill you have hundreds of confusing copies on your computer. You’ll not get that interview until your CV has been seen and it seems thats an imponderable.

    Look only give the last ten years of your work experience and remove any hint of your age. The game is up for job hunters advice consultants its a scam because choosing the right person for the job (has) become a lottery. Did I say that! yes I suppose I did because my experience is not just based on the present crisis but on the last twenty years of job seeking. If you aim at the stars you might end up in the clouds. If you are the wrong age you might end up in the gutter where you desparately end up aiming. Remember what was said about your next job title its as good as (or less than) your last. Keep trying… er Who do you know?

  • Doug Morgan

    I am not surprised at all, having been made redundant due the work moved to contract. At the age of 50 I was told of redundancy. (December 2007) Well todate I am still out of work, and ageism is the thing. Knowledge skills and ability counts for nothing.
    I have the good fortune to be alone, so no family to look after. The only help I have had todate has come from Age Concern who run job clubs in my area. Aimed at 45 plus age group.

  • kitten

    I can only agree to all the comments above regarding agencies and ageism, I worked on contract/temp base for the past 7 years with long gapes in between due to the fact that it is damn difficult to find another assignment,
    Agencies in my opinion have to make up their stats of how many candiates they recruit so to fulfil their quota they invite you and make you fill in their forms luring you in with the prospect of jobs that dont even exist or the deadline for forwarding a CV has already past (which was the case with WENN). They ask you what A or O levels you have when you have working experience of more than 30 years and I never thought I need any certicates about what I learned at school. In addition I moved countries. I am now 52 and unemployed since 08/2008 and would take any job no matter of pay they offer. The job center has a new scam which is a company called Maximus UK where they “outsource” all long term unemployed people to to help them to find work. Thats a joke and I think created by the government to create jobs for the people who are lucky enough to get a job at Maximus. When I asked the socalled advisors there what qualitication are needed to get a job there I was told none. Same answer I got from agencies. Anyhow I would like to hear from you who have experience with Maximus

  • Neil Stables

    Hey Doug, I am beginning to think the same thing, 49 and made redundant in Dec 2009. Not as long as you but I’d agree that knowledge and skills seem to amount to nothing.

  • DOUG MORGAN

    Hi Neil & Kitten,
    I was sent onto the HMG New Deal Scheme, run by A4E in my area. I was told by the New Deal guy it was good etc etc. Never have I wasted my time for 13 weeks, with 70 of you in one room, and 4 terminals. Health and Safety out the window. So it sounds as if just renamed Maximus. An insult to our skills and knowledge.

  • Biggins

    I have been to Maximus and they helped me get back into work after spending 5 years out of work, They where different to other agencys and actually treated me with respect not just a stat or figure!! give them a break and give them a try. The only bad things I havee heard have come from people who have no intrest in working. If you want to get back into work then they will bend over backwards to help. If you have no intrest then they will get on your back.

  • ian

    In reply to Glenn , I am a person who at one time ran my own manufacturing company ,the company was very busy and we needed to employ further engineers , we went to two agencies ,they both over a timescale of 3 months sent us the wrong candidates for our type of work ….we eventually placed our own advertisement , I sifted trough the applications the two men we employed where 52 and 58 , the difference these two men made to our production figures was amazing , they where both very experienced not only in the work they produced but in life in general. I would say to all agencies and companies take a very long look at how you select a candiate …there is nothing to beat experience …hang on in there Glenn

    • Mike

      A man after my own heart Ian. I am 55 years of age with a wealth of experience in management and investigation work (former Government employee), whose alleged ‘job for life’ ended last year when the Labour Government closed 130 tax offices and put all 2,000 staff out to pasture with P45′s…

      Like Glenn my experiences in the last 10-months suggest age’ism is rampant in modern day Britain. I try to engage potential employers with the argument that following a youth/degree angle, is not necessarily better than age/experience. The number of times I have been told that the ‘lower level’ jobs I have applied for, because I have not been able to find any other jobs, have been denied me because the employer felt “I would become bored from the lack of responsibility.” This is insulting in the extreme.

      I am prepared to, let’s say, lower my standards and weaken my CV, just to get a job, because despite the wrinkles, I too am young for my age, and could more than give someone 20 or 30 years younger a hard time in any discipline.

      I am hanging in there, because after all, it has only been 10 months, but it can certainly get to you, and for folk who have been looking for work longer than I have, you have my sympathy – I do know what you are going through!

  • Mike

    I agreed with your last comments, and I am fully behind this one too! And in a similar way I am getting tired of being sent the same job advert by agencies week in, week out. Do they exist? Probably, expect the employer is wanting someone of the right looks and age, in the mistaken belief they will stay in post. An older, more experienced person might, but the younger people with a degree, assuming they have ‘fire in their belly’, will want progress.

    Come to think of it, maybe that is what is happening? The jobs are being filled with the wrong (sic) people, and are being re-advertised on a regular basis?

  • Sheila

    I have read some of the comments about the difficulties of finding work in this ‘Buyers Market’ climate. I would like to encourage all not to give up (whatever your age). WANTING to work is a plus for any employer who may be seeking people for his/her team.

    My husband was made redundant 2 years ago at age 58, after 23 years with the same company. Over the course of 16 months he applied for anything he thought he could do. The Job Centre were very unhelpful in that they told him not to bother going in, but to just ‘check their website each day’. Well that may be ok if you happen to know the secret key words that you personally need to access certain jobs.

    Anyway, against their advise he called in one day, and printed off ALL jobs which he thought he may be able to do. There were only six. Out of those he got one interveiw. And they took him on the 3 months probationary period. (At age 59). He’s still there after 6 months and hopefully will continue until retirement.

    It is a job he had never previously considered- (night porter at a busy hotel), but he’s learned many new things, and made new friends. Its hard work for minimum pay and the petrol costs to and fro are around £200 per month. But on the upside – self-esteem, savings left intact, new skills, more money coming in than going out.

    So I would say its worth keep trying, go for something different, maybe be prepared for less money than previously (if its manageable). Try moving out of your ‘comfort zone’. And dont let age hold you back from trying something new.
    I wish you all success in your searches.

  • Chicmoore

    I have experienced exact same , I am 64 managerial experience have applied for 40 positions ,no interviews.

  • Medilaw

    I totally agree with Glenn’s sentiments. I have been back in the UK for 18 months and initially approached a ‘professional careers guidance ‘ firm in Manchester. They did redraft my CV which was in need of a serious update but aside friom that they didn’t really seem to understand my needs. After 6 months that was it, no further help. That cost me just under £4000. I have applied for a good few hundred posts as a medicolegal specialist lawyer but no response, not even an interview.

    All very frustrating; it would appear that there is no need for someone like me in the UK ! 

    CHRIS M

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