Job Searching in your Fifties

By Marisa Petrella, CLP

This is a place I thought I would never be in my life. Unemployed after working for a company for 25 years. The worst part of this journey is trying to find a new job after a one-year blip at a company that never wanted me working there to begin with. I felt like an outsider the whole time. Two of us started working at the same time. I was in personal lines, she was in commercial lines. I’m lucky I received any training; she received daily training. I am 56 she is 20 something. The customer experience director was always asking us to make sure she felt at home as she was new. She always had lunch mates. Was I ever asked to have lunch with people? The answer is simple: no. I quickly realized this place was not for me and off to LinkedIn and Indeed I went to find a new job. I even reached out to the headhunter who found me the initial job.

I have been applying to a minimum of 50 different companies in different states. There are two things to consider, my age and AI technology. The AI technology keeps rejecting my application. AI for recruitment is the application of artificial intelligence with predictive analysis that helps recruiters in recruiting automation. From identifying talent to mapping behavioral assessments of candidates. This bot technology helps recruiters weed out what they are not interested in.  The whole picture should be considered by a hiring manager, not just the last year. To be seen by AI certain words need to be used. Core competencies that would describe you for example, leadership, time-management. That’s just a short list – there are many more that can be used.

The second part is my age. All applications state that they do not discriminate due to age. I am starting to think that is not the case. It was recommended to me by a recruiter to reach out to WAHVE and due to my affiliation with IAIP, I know WAHVE is for people who are retired or soon will be but want to continue working. That is how I know age is a factor. Proving age discrimination in hiring can be challenging but is possible with direct evidence, such as age-related comments during interviews, disparate treatment evidence showing a pattern of hiring younger employees despite older candidates being more qualified, and disparate impact evidence where policies disproportionately affect older candidates. I believe since I received an email suggesting WAHVE, that I may very well be a victim of age discrimination.

I hope that this can be of some use to members of IAIP. I know I have revamped my resume to include those core competencies and I have received more notices reflecting my application has been submitted to the hiring manager.  I am updating my resume to include those terms that will help me advance past the AI screening and will continue to remind potential employers that there is a lot of work life left in me. If you have any leads on a job, you can find my resume on LinkedIn!

Marisa Petrella, CLP has been a member of IAIP since 2014 and in the insurance industry since 1997. She is a member of Region I.

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