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Colleen Sellers's Profile

I am getting extremely frustrated. I have been working since I was a teenager. I worked, went to college and raised my children on my own. I am almost finished with a doctor of management and have 20 years management experience and 4 years classroom teaching experience. I hold a Six Sigma Black Belt. I have volunteered in many different capacities. I am extremely tech savvy. In addition to wonderful interpersonal communication skills, I am also fluent in American Sign Language and can read and write in Spanish and French. The problem? I cannot get hired in any corporate level positions. A doctoral advisor told me that since my management experience was ONLY restaurant management experience and my teaching experience was ONLY special education, people would not take me seriously. This presents me with another problem, I know many people with lower level degrees, no special certifications and no work experience that land dream jobs. What is wrong with me? How do I perform this magic? I have a lot to offer a company. I am tire of getting rejected for every position I apply for. My sons and I actually printed out a bunch of my rejection emails and turned them into confetti and had a rejection letter party. This is getting frustrating. What more do I need? I am so tired of waiting for the phone to ring and I am tired of people thinking lowly of me because of ONLY working in the hospitality industry and education. Why is that worse than having no experience?


Topic Expert
Wayne Spivak
Title: President & CFO
LinkedIn Profile
(President & CFO, |

I feel your pain. In this day and age:

  • AGEISM is rampant;
  • Companies are penny-wise dollar foolish. They are setting salaries for senior-level people/C-Suite low, thus they get the young person who doesn't have experience but fancy certifications for a lot less (and all the issues they will bring from not having experience);
  • The hiring is being done by those who are clueless as to the job and the real requirements for not only the individual to succeed, but the job to add value to the company;
  • CEO's and Board are abrogating their responsibilities and permitting this to happen;
  • And the feeling that only industry-sub-specific experience will solve their problems.
(Finance Director) |

I agree with Wayne. Ageism is very rampant. I experienced something similar when I changed careers. The best advice I can give you is to expand your search horizons. If corporate doors aren't opening for you, look at non-profits, education or even local government. There are excellent opportunities available in all of these areas.

Colleen Sellers
Title: management
Company: jp
(management, jp) |

1. I am a teacher, so I already work in education. 2. I have applied with non-profits and have been turned down for those. 3. I have applied with local and federal governments. I have rejection letters from them as well. I do not even get invited for interviews. Just last year, I got so excited when I received a letter saying my application was referred to the hiring committee (Federal Job right in line with my degree). Well, two weeks late, without an interview, I got an email saying the job was given to another applicant. There must be something fundamentally wrong with me! They do not even talk to me before turning me down. They did not even offer me an interview and just two weeks after my information makes it to the hiring committee I get turned down. So, yeah, I have tried all the avenues you are speaking of.

Colleen Sellers
Title: management
Company: jp
(management, jp) |

The problem I have faced is some head hunters for corporate positions said that many of the HR representatives may think I am too young (I am 43) and some say they may think, because of my age, I am not tech savvy enough, even after explaining the fact that I have played the role of tech support for my department of my high school where I teach. It is horrible. By the way, some of the people I am referencing are only a few years younger than I am and admit to me that they are not very tech savvy at all. She makes a six figure salary and no certifications just a bachelor's degree. It is frustrating. I have never stopped my education and take additional certifications where I can. These certifications and additional degrees are getting expensive. I guess I am just going to be stuck!

Topic Expert
Patrick Dunne
Title: Chief Financial Officer
Company: Milk Source
(Chief Financial Officer, Milk Source) |

I agree with a lot of the comments made, but with the wealth of experience you have, you have to tailor your message. This includes reducing your resume to include only relevant experience. Less is probably more. Think of it as "teasing" the employer with some strong accomplishments and background. I am guessing that you have the bulk of the skills you mentioned in your resume, but employers may see the other skills as irrelevant or baggage. Also, network as much as you can. Sending out resume's works for lower level jobs, but most senior level positions are filled based on a person knowing you or the work you have done. I had strong reputation in a large company and turned that into roles outside the company. Think of people that know you well and pick their brains on opportunities. Sometimes job leads can come from a neighbor, fellow parishioner, or someone that is in a club with you.

Len Green
Title: Performance Improvement Consultant and E..
Company: Haygarth Consulting LLC
LinkedIn Profile
(Performance Improvement Consultant and ERP Strategist, Haygarth Consulting LLC) |

Your advice to Colleen about networking is invaluable!!

Applying to posted jobs on line etc is often an exercise in frustration. Recruiters look at applications by candidates for the sole purpose of weeding them down. You and hundreds others are chasing a faceless decision maker.

Don't underestimate the value of networking.
But, networking is an art. Send me a private message here if you'd like to talk.



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