Q: I have been without work in my field for over 3 years. I worked at the same institution for over 34 years but had to leave for reasons I cannot go into here. I have an excellent resume and great references but cannot not seem to get an interview or get past human resources. I have networked and done everything right. I have applied to over 40 postings at one institution and can't seem to get even a phone call. I am extremely frustrated at this point but have not given up. I am an allied health professional. Is it possible they look at my being at one employer for over 30 years a detriment?
A: Congratulations on continuing your job search. Sometimes 30 plus years with one employer can be viewed as a negative but not always. Many view 30 plus with one employer as a remarkable achievement.
When I hear that a candidate is struggling to land interviews, I often worry about their resume. I am concerned that your resume may be too long, too dense or contain typos. Ask a trusted friend to review your resume. Ask them to share their honest feedback. Is it easy to read? Does it summarize your skills effectively? Boston.com has information on resumes do's and don’ts. Visit www.boston.com/jobs/advice for more information on building a strong resume.
Based on the information you presented, I can not make any recommendations on how to best explain your reason for leaving your last company after 34 years of employment. When an employee has worked for a company for such a lengthy period of time, usually an interviewer will ask you, or any candidate, about the circumstances around your leaving.
Instead of applying repeatedly to postings at the institution of interest, explore LinkedIn. Find out if you know of anyone at that company. On LinkedIn, you can enter a company and search for employees that have listed that company as an employer. Don’t have a LinkedIn account? Start one! LinkedIn is an online networking tool that can connect you to hundreds of contacts after the contacts have accepted your invitation. Having an employee at that institution provide information on open positions is far more effective than emailing them 40 resumes. LinkedIn also has subgroups that would be very beneficial to your search. Many positions within companies are not posted. It is critical to access these opportunities. You will increase your chances of hearing about new opportunities if you have contacts that know you are looking for work.
Work on your elevator speech too. What is an elevator speech? It is a job pitch that quickly and succinctly summarizes your background, skill set and even how another person can help you in your search. Be careful to remove any frustration, anger or frustration about your job search. A sample job pitch might be:
Hi, I am Jane Smith. For over 30 years, I worked as a dental hygienist for a small dental practice in Brookline. I have an Associate’s Degree from ABC Dental School. I love my field and I especially enjoy building relationships with patients over a period of time. I am now in the job market and looking for a similar role. I wanted to pick your brain on any opportunities that you may know about in the Boston area. I am excited to find my next opportunity.
Have you considered temporary or contract roles? These roles can sometimes lead to full-time offers.
Allied health roles include a broad range of positions including emergency medical technicians, phlebotomists, dental hygienist, cardiovascular technicians and lab technicians. Have you joined professional associations? Is there a school or alumni association that could be helpful?
Opportunities in healthcare are expected to grow significantly. The Bureau of Labor Statistics provides this information regarding job opportunities in healthcare:
Many job openings should arise in all employment settings as a result of employment growth and the need to replace workers who retire or leave their jobs for other reasons. Tougher immigration rules that are slowing the numbers of foreign healthcare workers entering the United States should make it easier to get a job in this industry.
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Patricia Hunt Sinacole is president of First Beacon Group LLC, a human resources consulting firm in Hopkinton. She works with clients across many industries including technology, biotech and medical devices, financial services, and healthcare, and has over 20 years of human resources experience.
Elaine Varelas is managing partner at Keystone Partners, a career management firm in Boston and serves on the board of Career Partners International.
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Tracy Cashman is Senior Vice President and Partner of the Information Technology search division at WinterWyman. She has 20 years of experience partnering with clients in the Boston area to conduct technology searches in a wide variety of industries and technology.
Paul Hellman is the founder of Express Potential, which specializes in executive communication skills. He consults and speaks internationally on how to capture attention & influence others. Email him directly here.