People Are Sharing What It’s Like To Job-Hunt Over 50 — And It’s Harrowing

May 6, 2024

Since she got laid off from her job in December, Donna Kopman, 57, has sent out over 300 job applications. From Sunday through Tuesday, the Lake Oswego, Oregon, resident spends eight hours a day at her computer applying for jobs. The rest of the week, she focuses on researching jobs she will submit applications for the following week.

So far, she has gotten only one job interview with a recruiter…

One major reason it’s so hard to get rehired? Because of machines that rank an older job seeker’s job application.

When older workers apply for a job, they often get rejected by automatic tracking systems that can sort out their résumé based on dates used and skills that they do not list, said Carl Van Horn, a public policy professor and director of the Heldrich Center for Workforce Development at Rutgers University. He gave the example of digital skills not being listed, even though they can be easily taught.

Employers “make this assumption and say, ‘Well, they probably don’t know how to do X, Y, and Z.’ Now, of course, on the other side, what we know is that [those] people have been successful in the labor market for a long time. They’re probably good workers,” he said. “But it flies against some people’s attitude about older people and what they can and can’t do.”

And as more employers adopt generative artificial intelligence into their workflow, Van Horn said he expects older job seekers to face potentially more rejections.

Huffpost, May 6, 2024

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