Boomer Women Struggle to Find Jobs

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If you’re a woman in your 50s looking for a job in this economy, prepare for an uphill battle. Employers don’t care that you raised two or three kids, paid for your kids’ college, and ran a household. When they get your well-written cover letter and resume, they see one thing—you’re over 50 and, unlike a male boomer, you probably had to split your time between work and family. But does that make you less qualified?


You may have tried to conceal your age, but HR managers and recruiters have ways of finding out roughly how old you are. Even if you get called in for an interview, chances are, it will be with a 30-something woman (70% of HR people are women). They’ll see you as “pre-Internet” and you’ll see them as college kids just out of the dorms. The chasm of age and gender bias can be particularly hard to breach.


An article in Pavement Pieces by Elizabeth Vulaj underscored the problem women boomers face in this underperforming job market. “Some of the challenges people in the workplace face is ageism, and it’s even harder for women,” said Aurora Salamone, Special Advisor at The New York City Department of Aging. Tory Johnson, CEO of Women for Hire, a career recruiting website geared towards college-educated women noted a problem many successful women face, “Having a higher salary or higher salary history can hurt your chances of getting hired,” said Johnson.


So where do you start? How do you combat the double whammy of age and gender bias? Some suggestions:


Show Your Tech Savvy


For some reason, HR managers and recruiters believe that older women are less tech savvy than men. It’s an old stereotype and long discarded by many, but it stubbornly hangs on in the minds of some. So sell your technical knowledge—Internet, management software, and any IT background you have. Same thing during the interview. Bury all notions that you’re a “dial phone” applicant who will pester staff and supervisors with non-stop technical questions.


Show Your LinkedIn Presence


If you don’t have a presence on LinkedIn, get one. If you do, make it shine. Ask past employers for references you can post. Include content that shows you’re up to speed on issues about your potential employer’s industry. Have a professional photographer take your photo and work with him or her to make sure you look as young as possible—angles, lighting, make-up, etc. And do wear clothes that are age appropriate.


Show Your Energy


If you’re lucky enough to get that all-important interview, make sure you exude all the energy and vitality you can muster. In her article, How Women Job Seekers Can Beat Age Discrimination, Kerry Hannon quotes executive career coach Beverly Jones, founder of Clearways Consulting, “The vital first step in fighting ageism is to be physically fit, energetic, and positive in attitude.” If you have to, join a gym, go on a diet, get a little sun on your face. You don’t want to walk in looking creaky and sapped of energy.


Are you over 50, female and looking for a job? Employers are looking for your experience and maturity. But you'll have to show you're up to the job.


Image courtesy of stockimages/



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  • Deborah St.
    Deborah St.
    To me this is discrimination. With the economy today a lot of women  need and have to work no matter what age. Some one needs to get their priorities straight.    Didn't we as women fight for the right to work among other rights and "WIN" !!! So as an over 50 WOMAN  I and every woman over 50 should still have the right to be employed anywhere.
  • Alex Kecskes
    Alex Kecskes
    Catherine: Yes, but you'll also be experienced and mature.  
  •  Michelle J
    Michelle J
    I was afraid that this may happen.It's hard to believe you can be put out to pasture just by observation. I know young people who don't know how to text or email. Thanks for the warning.
  • Christine N
    Christine N
    Spot on.I might add that some 50 year olds take work seriously instead of texting all day
  • Cheryl G
    Cheryl G
    I am 56, and that is a problem that I faced. Consider trying a virtual employer. If you don't mind Retail environments the NARMS site is the place to start. I was hired without being seen! They require drug and background testing. My interview was via the telephone. Orientation via internet and telephone. I met my supervisor seven days after I had been job shadowing.  Please my "Golden Sister Girls" don't get discouraged. Get creative!  And... I really enjoy my job. Good Luck!!!
  • Catherine D
    Catherine D
    Even if I do what you say, I'll still be over 50 and white to boot!!!
  • Cheryl P
    Cheryl P
    You are so right! I have been diligently looking for employment now for two years and have had many interviews, but no job offers. The initial telephone interviews are very positive because I have a young voice and pleasing, upbeat personality. However, when I meet for the in-person interview and they see that I am a mature woman instead of the younger woman they pictured as they spoke with me on the telephone, the interest dies and I am not chosen for the position. I am not over weight, unskilled for these positions or unattractive for my age either, so that only leaves my age for the reason I am not hired for these positions. I am computer literate and have skills with Microsoft Office software and interview very well I'm told, but I am not 20 anymore. Many of the jobs for which I apply require company product specific knowledge and require up to 6 weeks of training. I believe that a company would rather invest the expense of that training in a younger verses an older person. The job search is much less productive now that I am over 50 for sure!
  • Joann C
    Joann C
    I have had a couple of interviews that made it obvious that I was being judged as being an "older woman". They were so excited when they read my resume and did the phone interview, but as soon as they see me, it is over before it begins.  I am always told that I don't look my age, but my self esteem after these not so successful interviews, has taken a hit!!
  • Nancy J
    Nancy J
    I think that the article is right on the money as I struggle to get even an interview!I'm young looking for my age of 62,energetic, & been physical all my life as a visual merchandiser.I will definitely reveal my internet,excel,word skills from now on .
  • Patrick G A
    Patrick G A
    You people are great
  • Lena W
    Lena W
    I agree whole heartedly. I willtry your suggestions
  • meyiwa o
    meyiwa o
    thanks for showcasing older women abilities we need this kind of article to booster our morale
  • Sharon H
    Sharon H
    I believe I am currently experiencing racism, ageism and gender discrimination as and have not seen many articles addressing those issues. Computer software used by Human Resource Managers are also part of the problem. In addition most companies are so concerned about lawsuits they ignore many jewels.
  • Jane M
    Jane M
    This is actually going to work against the 30 somethings.  You see, I make hiring decisions and I am not 30.  And yes, I do make a point of NOT hiring anyone under 35, and yes, I can tell.  If you don't have at least 15 years experience in the job market, then you're not even getting into my inbox.  It works both ways, they (the under 30's) haven't figured it out yet.

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