Older, Over-Qualified and Consulting

I am an engineer, with 17+ years of experience and was downsized 5 years ago. I have been unable to secure a position since then and I have started my own consulting business which is not doing well. I am in the 45-50 age bracket and considered 'old', ˜overqualified', etc. I had bosses who were mean and coworkers who were sometimes sexually aggressive, other times chauvinistic, and I lost some jobs because I stood up to my bosses/coworkers. Now, I cannot secure even interviews. The problem is: Why am I turning recruiters/employers off? Why is it that I cannot secure a permanent position or a consulting position?

Age discrimination is certainly considered an issue but there are many that believe (and rightly so) that confidence, focus and determination can prove your value. And that age is only one consideration in the mix, the workplace does indeed value experience. It is your job to determine which organizations are more likely to do this.

If you have not already done so, you might try to access information and support from a microenterprise agency that can help you build your business and learn business strategies, if you choose to continue your consulting business.

You might connect with a mental health agency to work through some of the issues surrounding workplace adjustment. I certainly would not even attempt to offer any thoughts of why you might be turning recruiters and employers off, what would cause you to lose several jobs, etc. Those kinds of determinations could only be discussed after many face to face meetings.

    I would suggest that you connect with a career counseling agency that can work with you directly on:
  1. Creating an effective resume - and developing answers and responses to the "hole" and the many jobs.
  2. There are many questions - what else have you been doing during the time of unemployment, have you had other part time jobs, have you increased your knowledge base in any way, etc. How have you conducted your search, are there techniques that you might employ that would be more effective.
  3. Develop networking strategies to help you connect more directly to agencies that can benefit from your skill set.

I appreciate your feeling of desperation and am sorry I am unable to provide a "magic, simple" answer. But finding good work is really hard work that is more an art than a science. I wish you success. It sounds like you are a highly qualified woman with a great deal to offer.


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