Q. I am a mature job seeker in a long term job search. I applied for an internship I found on craigslist at a biotech startup. I have experience in the field and was hoping that would cast me as a frontrunner.
I got an immediate reply and an interview was set up for the next day. They wanted website, white paper, PR and business plan help. I have this experience and It seemed like a perfect match. The head of the company told me he’d make a quick decision as they needed someone immediately.
Fast forward-I got an Email saying that he wouldn’t hire an intern. A few days later I saw an ad for the same job on craigslist only jazzed up to appeal to a younger crowd.
I am tired of being a good guy. I would love to find a way to let these people know that this was handled poorly. What are my options?
A. Many job seekers feel they have been treated poorly or that their job search interactions were handled poorly. It is frustrating and upsetting and many employers do not recognize the impact of their actions. At the same time, job seekers’ expectations and assessment of their own skill set can be unrealistic.
Internships, for the most part, are designed for students and new or recent graduates. The tradeoff is beneficial for both parties as interns receive the opportunity to learn and grow while companies can have entry level employees for now or low pay.
The movies may show more experienced professionals worming their way into a valuable internship opportunity, but that is not the company’s expectation. Companies often don’t react well to surprises, which is what you were when you arrived for the interview. Your resume may have left off experience or dates which is a strategy some mature workers have tried to use. The company recognized they were not getting the candidates they hoped for, so they changed the ad to more effectively represent what they wanted.
Rather than taking your job search frustration out on this employer, promise to help other mature job seekers network and find employment; revamp your own job search efforts. With experience in biotech, investigate the services of professional associations. Start with the Massachusetts Biotech Council (www.massbio.org/careers). They have job listings and offer programs to job seekers looking for opportunities in the industry.
If you have a trusted colleague, have him or her review your resume to make sure it is not misleading to potential hiring managers. You may be experiencing the effects of age discrimination, but hiding your age won’t get you the opportunities you seek. You need to represent yourself well, maximize your experience and show yourself as current. Use LinkedIn effectively to connect with your contemporaries and network your way to success.