Dear J.T. & Dale: I am a single, 53-year-old female who has worked for the same grocery chain for more than 20 years. My title is Supervisor. I work 18 hours a week. I have applied online to several places, but no luck. I’ve let friends, customers, and so on know that I’m looking for something part-time, since I’m available four days a week. I understand that a lot of places are looking for high-school-age applicants (or at least under 30). I feel like once they see my date of birth, that’s it. How can I compete for part-time jobs? – Talia
DALE:You are being tempted to settle for the easiest “why,” which is concluding that your age is holding you back. Yes, age discrimination happens, but I wouldn’t settle on it as your problem until you’ve eliminated all other possibilities. In this case, the big possibility is that you are applying for jobs that don’t exist.
You’re telling prospective employers that you are a veteran supervisor and that you’re available four days a week. I suppose there are some stores with part-time supervisors, but it’s up to you to find them. Hiring managers are looking for people to help them solve their problems, and right away they see scheduling you as being a fat new problem. If you were to alter your resume to make it appear that you were in your 20s, I’ll bet you get the same Big Silence from the job market.
J.T.: I understand your point, but ageism still may be playing a role. The surest way to overcome stereotyping is via recommendations. You need customers or former co-workers to vouch for your skills and abilities. Age isn’t an issue when you are known for your work ethic and record of success.
Next, Dale’s right that you’re going to need to do research to find stores that are in a position to hire you. Once you have target employers, you can work to get recommended to them. One final thought: If you find an organization that you’re truly passionate about joining, don’t be shy about expressing your feelings. Really articulating why you will be the most engaged and hard-working employee is infectious and attractive for any job, at any age.
© 2012 by King Features Syndicate, Inc.
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