Q: In the past six years Ive earned $16/hour to over $110,000/year. This confuses employers, because, at 58, Im competing with lesser design talent. Its almost as if interviewers are embarrassed for me when they ask, What kind of salary do you expect? How do I answer and remain confident?
Talent, experience and capability arent what companies want. They look for a square to fit into a square hole. When it doesn't, they don't consider using out-of-the box-thinking in respect to the applicant.
Why must a designer wear every hat under the sun (i.e., know every software program) in order to get an interview?
A: In your longer email, you explained that the $110,000 per year job fizzled. Mention the monthly rate and term or omit the job altogether. Then, meet the competition on its terms. If employers you approach require greater computer facility, hire a tutor to teach you what you need to know!
Research salaries at other companies. Say you want to be paid what the position is worth. Mention what other companies are paying, which will let employers know youre aware of market rate. Ask what range theyre considering. Go from there.
Q: After well over a year of hunting for consulting or full-time employment, Im about to start a consulting position in marketing dealing with digital, advertising and marketing campaigns, etc. Id been doing small assignments in the interim and Id interviewed with about five companies. I do recontact people after being turned down. Initially, interest had been high, sometimes with an interview. Id been looking on job sites and corporate HR websites, while responding to individual requests for my resume. I have what theyre saying is valued, vital experience, digital marketing along with cross-industry experience.
A: Your resume is a bit long. It makes short-term assignments stick out. You need more accomplishments and fewer features. However, they arent your worst problems.
The avenues you identified to find employment are among the most difficult ones from which to eke out a job. Look at your numbers. You landed a job at your sixth company with interviews at fewer than six. Excellent. Your resume isnt your problem. Your expect to find work by not applying the brains youve channeled into your career to learn how to job hunt.
How are you supposed to act in front of an employer, whether for a job or internship? Its not always clear. Desperation leads to acting. Just wanting a job sometimes makes people act strangely. Michele Paiva left the first day of her internship shocked, with my tail between my legs, over an hour on a crowded train, choking back tears combining bitterness and humiliation (michelepaiva.com).
Paiva was young, in her 20s. Shed spent most of that day playing up to a leading television personality shed admired while growing up. Her awe had backfired.
I guess by the end of the day, Paiva says, she had had enough of me. She looked at me and said, You want to make it in this business? Get tough! Don't agree with everyone. Have an opinion. Don't run to do things for me. I have enough of that around here and I need someone I can depend on, someone real.
The next day Paiva went in to work. When asked for coffee, she looked at her boss angrily, saying, Do I look like your mother? Get your own coffee. The walk is good for you. They both burst out laughing.
Never underestimate the power of being human, she adds.
(Dr. Mildred Culp welcomes your questions at firstname.lastname@example.org. 2012 Passage Media.)