Dear Jewish Fairy Godmother:
I’m a woman in my 50’s who is trying to make a career change. I’ve
sent out 50 resumes and haven’t gotten one bite for an interview. Do
you have any ideas for what to do? I used to be a school counselor.
Now I will do anything (but that).
Dear Tiring Fast:
The job market isn’t as bad as it was during the great recession, but
for middle-aged women it remains a tough place to make a transition.
You won’t face the tacit discrimination that motherly-aged women do,
when employers fear absenteeism because of sick children, which yes
is illegal but still happens tacitly. But you will be classified in the what-
happens-if-she-decides-to-just-stop-working bias as well as
competition from many other equally qualified folks.
I hate to say it but 50 resumes is a drop in the bucket. When you’ve
sent out 1,000 you can be tired. My best advice would be to seek out
headhunters, both the kind who is paid by employers and (I know you
will hate this) the kind you might have to pay for finding you a
professional placement. From doing the tireless work of planning and
crisis intervention, scheduling and coping with bureaucracies, and all
the manifold duties of a counselor you have acquired a great many
transferrable skills. You just need someone who is in the employment
industry to understand them.
Create resumes for counseling and for
administration. Then connect with recruiters, both in your area and
national folks. You can find many of them online who have list-serves.
Get on the list-serves of all local governments and non-profits too. And
then get yourself as many informational interviews as you can with all
the folks I just identified. Pitch yourself as reliable, experienced, and
incredible well-rounded, ready to tackle any job. See how many doors
they can get you into. It will take time.