2013-04-18 / Lifestyles

Horsing around on the job

Lois A. Corcoran

Some days I feel like a horse that’s late for pasture. Oddly enough, at the near-retirement age of 50-something, I find myself launching a job search. It appears I’m in good company, though, given our state’s lofty unemployment rate.

While it’s nice knowing I’m not alone, the sheer numbers vying for any given position mean serious competition. Worse, most contenders are much younger—so it’s vital that I put my best hoof forward.

This begins with the application. Depending on how old the form is, its “Personal” section may or may not include date of birth. I learned the hard way to answer this question “Not applicable” rather than “How old do I look?” At least they don’t check my teeth.

Though applications no longer ask candidates their gender, ethnic origin, and disability status, I suspect prospective employers can determine all of that from a gander at me.

Workers traditionally start at the bottom and must prove themselves in order to advance. Thus, when asked which position I’m applying for, I will refrain from writing “CEO”.

Naturally, employers want to know education levels attained. I may not have earned a college degree, but I learned a thing or two from life itself. So I plan to list my postsecondary education as “The School of Hard Knocks”.

The section entitled “Employment History” will require a bit moreSurgicaleffort.ServicesSomethingA alltellssurgeonsdme they may balk at my long and spotty track record. If they do want to know about my hundred-and-one jobs, I’ll need a few more sheets of paper. A ream should suffice.

Under “Skills,” I’ll modestly mention my ability to recite the Gettysburg Address while juggling.

Rather than “References,” today’s apps use the more hip term of “Referees”. I’m sincerely grateful for two of my former bosses who agreed to serve as same. But the visual of them wearing black and white striped shirts makes me snicker.

When questioned about any prior criminal convictions, I’ll break down and confess the parking ticket I received 30 years ago.

As for my “Personal Statement,” I believe that three-day weekends should be mandatory.

Then I’ll sign and declare on oath that each statement on the form is absolutely, positively true. More or less.

In a perfect world, the application paves the way for an interview. But that’s another column for this old mare.

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