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"Mature" Engineer Job Search

11/06/2017 1:40 PM

I am looking for some encouragement here. I am a 59 year old engineer that needs a different job. I am healthy and active and expect to work another ten years.

Do you think the fact that I am 59 will make it nearly impossible to fine another engineering job?

I do have a technical specialty and am willing to move anywhere but the age thing has me very concerned.

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#1

Re: "Mature" Engineer job search

11/06/2017 1:57 PM

Your age should not matter, only your ability to do the job...

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Age_Discrimination_in_Employment_Act_of_1967

Take an aggressive stance mentally, and realize that this age thing is not an issue...Your qualifications are the only thing that matters...If they refuse to hire you based on age discrimination, you have the right to sue for damages....so get it in writing, or on video...

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#2

Re: "Mature" Engineer job search

11/06/2017 2:08 PM

At 59, you need to work another ten years, unless independently wealthy.

Get on those job boards, and web sites, and be very selective which ones you use.

Targeted search might help you more. Target your resume' to only the companies you single out.

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#3

Re: "Mature" Engineer Job Search

11/06/2017 3:26 PM

Go find some advice about marketing yourself and how to deal with overt or covert age-ism. Are there any local chapters of engineering professional groups in your area? If so, go to some meetings and see if you can find a member or two or three who can offer advice.

Take the time to think through the skills/experience/specializations that set you apart from other job candidates. Write them down. Remind yourself every day of these strengths. You can solve problems that other engineers can't tackle. Find a company with those problems and show how you would be a good fit. In other words, learn how to market yourself.

You also might want to take the same advice that younger job-seekers get: network, network, network. Most positions are never advertised, so insider knowledge is one key to finding a new opportunity. Finding out the name of the hiring manager is another key; this is information a contact can give you. If you go straight to the person who does the hiring you avoid getting weeded out by HR.

Also, work on your LinkedIn presence. I'm not looking for a job, but I do occasionally post stuff on LinkedIn, usually links to articles on our websites. That little bit of action has increased the number of times my profile shows up in search results about 2K percent.

Mr. Best in Show got a permanent job at age 68. He'd been sort of retired, taking contract assignments for a few months at a time. One of those short stints turned into a the job he has now.

Good luck; keep us posted.

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#12
In reply to #3

Re: "Mature" Engineer Job Search

11/06/2017 6:31 PM

Here is somebody who knew just how to handle these sort of issues:

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#13
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Re: "Mature" Engineer Job Search

11/07/2017 9:16 AM

One of my favorite Reaganisms, along with the one that is about riding horses.

"I have often said there is nothing better for the inside of a man than the outside of a horse". I look forward to meeting him on the other side of eternity.

Funny thing is Winston Churchill beat him to this line.

“There is something about the outside of a horse that is good for the inside of a man.”

Winston S. Churchill

But, hold the presses, there is this:

John Lubbock, graduate of Eton College, English banker, Liberal politician, philanthropist, scientist and polymath. Wikipedia Born: April 30, 1834, London, United Kingdom

"There is nothing so good for the inside of a man as the outside of a horse".

John Lubbock, The Use of Life, 1894.

This is not the Lubbock that my home city of Lubbock is named for.

Francis Richard Lubbock was the ninth Governor of Texas and was in office during the American Civil War. He was the brother of Thomas Saltus Lubbock, for whom Lubbock County, Texas and the City of Lubbock are named. WikipediaThomas Saltus Lubbock was a Texas Ranger and colonel in the Confederate army during the American Civil War. Wikipedia.

That is (sort of) the rest of the story. Now we collectively know more than we did when this started.

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#4

Re: "Mature" Engineer Job Search

11/06/2017 3:36 PM

My opinion,

Even though age should not matter 'legally', I would say it does, let's call it experience.

Companies under 50 will scrutinize lets say, your experience more, larger companies it may not. I don't know what type of experience or education you have, but it does put you in a very limited pigeon hole.

It's not impossible, but you should contact some professional job placement advisors as well as professional resume writers. This will definitely increase your odds.

And you have things going for you, and that is you are still employed looking for a change.

Secondly,... you don't know, unless you try.

Good luck,

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#5

Re: "Mature" Engineer Job Search

11/06/2017 3:37 PM

This is all good advice.

I know age discrimination is against the law, but anyone by just knowing your name and city or town you live in can find your age in 30 seconds on the internet. This might be a full stop by the gate keepers.

Who else other than BestInShow has succeeded at finding a job while more mature?

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#19
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Re: "Mature" Engineer Job Search

11/07/2017 3:54 PM

I was laid-off at the age of 49 (my post on the topic)... not too old, but no spring chicken either. But, like others have said on this thread - networking, a solid legacy, and confidence will bust through any preconceived impression of your value based solely on your age.

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#6

Re: "Mature" Engineer Job Search

11/06/2017 3:49 PM

DO NOT compose your own resume'.

Get a geek, or a headhunter to help you.

Most engineering managers never see anybody's resume' until it has been run through several selection programs that look for key words.

Your age should not be a factor if you apply to companies who value experience.

I have two friends, over 60, who are working for a fairly new satellite builder. They are the oldest guys there, but they still got hired.

Good luck.

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#9
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Re: "Mature" Engineer Job Search

11/06/2017 4:44 PM

Lyn makes a point I meant to include. Look at start-ups and other new and small companies. You won't make as much money, but your expertise will be greatly valued. A start-up holds the promise of stock options and cashing in if the company gets acquired.

I just had a random thought. Do you live near a business incubator or some other organization that supports innovation and experimentation? Something like this in Troy, NY (where GlobalSpec was born) or this, also in Troy. I don't know how possible it would be for someone like you to sort of make your expertise available to a project that you find interesting and that you figure you could contribute to.

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#10
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Re: "Mature" Engineer Job Search

11/06/2017 4:48 PM

Clearly, if anyone (other than me) knows about oldness, it is Lyn.

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#7

Re: "Mature" Engineer Job Search

11/06/2017 3:51 PM

Just be wary of those companies that want only applicants with three post graduate degrees, 20+ years of experience and are offering only a term or apprentice salary.

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#8

Re: "Mature" Engineer Job Search

11/06/2017 4:10 PM

On a more serious note, I've found that most recent graduates have no practical field experience. That is your advantage, use it. Show them how you are use to solving non-classroom problems. Experience is the valuable commodity you bring to their table. Knowing the latest app, buzzword, or trend is very useful in marketing and sales. You're looking for an engineering position. Engineers make things work. Experienced engineers not only know what happens when the real world differs from the classroom, they know how to fix it.

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#11

Re: "Mature" Engineer Job Search

11/06/2017 6:26 PM

One more thing.

When you get an interview, KNOW THE COMPANY AND ITS PRODUCTS.

The last engineering position (not the "high paying cush, no work politically appointed job" as SE put it) that I got was because, while I didn't know much about that industry, I believed that they had too diverse a product line and told the chief tech officer so. Turns out that the diversity was customer driver but at least the PhD I spoke with knew that I had some idea of what they did.

Stay positive and approach the job search with the same professional attitude you will have on the job.

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#14

Re: "Mature" Engineer Job Search

11/07/2017 9:20 AM

Lyn has good advise about the resume. Networking is another good way. Since I've retired at age 66, I've been offered several jobs because of my experience. I turned them all down because I just didn't want to work any longer. Only one I wish I had taken was a position as CIO of a local business with several locations. They are a non-profit so the pay was going to be half of what I had been making...looking back (20-20 hindsight) I should have taken it. I'd still be there at 73!

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#15
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Re: "Mature" Engineer Job Search

11/07/2017 9:52 AM

Why not go back to them, and ask if you can be of service? I plan to go to work for an old friend of mine (one or the other or both) after I retire from this city job.

I am responsible for very little, but what it is, is essential to the continued mission here, so I suppose it is worth all this money they pay me.

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#21
In reply to #15

Re: "Mature" Engineer Job Search

11/07/2017 4:53 PM

That train left the station when the CEO left.

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#16
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Re: "Mature" Engineer Job Search

11/07/2017 11:53 AM

After I became a technological dinosaur, I went to work for a small downtown non-profit.

I worked there for 16 years and I still go back occasionally just to visit.

It was/is like family to me. I still manage some property in downtown so I,m in the area once or twice a month and sometimes I stop by.

I never had any desire to re-visit any of my other former employers.

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#17

Re: "Mature" Engineer Job Search

11/07/2017 12:47 PM

What is your specialty?

I keep getting calls from the local headhunters looking for engineers as supposedly there is a shortage right now.

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#20
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Re: "Mature" Engineer Job Search

11/07/2017 4:34 PM

My specialty is Reliability Engineering. Before this I have years of Mechanical Design and have done a lot of the typical stuff like Product Engineer, Development Engineer and Project Engineering. Over 35 years does that to a guy.

My degree is Industrial and Systems Engineering from Ohio University. Yes it is an ABET accredited Bachelor of Science degree.

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#27
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Re: "Mature" Engineer Job Search

11/08/2017 11:46 AM

We are struggling to find qualified and experienced engineers for a number of positions; and are actually looking for candidates that are in the latter parts of their careers to leverage their experience. If any of these positions are within your wheelhouse, PM me for additional information on how to apply. And one that is not listed, but one that we're always interested in are experienced industrial machine design engineers that show potential to grow into any of the listed positions.

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#18

Re: "Mature" Engineer Job Search

11/07/2017 3:41 PM

I do not think age is an issue, in fact, we are looking for 'experienced' engineers presently... in your present state of residence. See this thread I posted in the Commercial Space advertising the positions.

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#22

Re: "Mature" Engineer Job Search

11/07/2017 7:17 PM

You may find my experience in similar job-hunting circumstances of some value...

Before gainning my current employment (as a mid-fifties Registered Civil Engineer), I was interviewed by a Registered Civil Engineer (in his early-fifties), who summarily said that if he hired me, I would be (in the company and) older than he was, implying that I would have more post registration experience, and would be more (tenured?) than he... (...he asked me no questions about work experience, skills or knowledge...)

This is a (shadow phenomenon) that may also be operating, though well consealed...

He did me a great favor by revealing his insecurity so quickly. I thanked him for his time and consideration, and calmly left... (...finally realizing he had done me a great favor in preventing me from having to endure potential workplace conflict...)

So, consider applying for lessor positions at smaller companies because they may be more likely to lead to more appreciative employers that promote from within... It worked for me...

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#23
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Re: "Mature" Engineer Job Search

11/08/2017 9:22 AM

The fact that some of us have a lot of experience makes for some interesting perceptions by perspective employers. I have been wearing out my brain trying to figure out what perspective employers want.

My sons are grown and everything I own is paid for so I am fully willing to change jobs for a lower level and lower pay position. I live in a small town that is at 80 miles from the closest city. Two recent experiences have made me rethink this.

I applied for a floor supervisor job at a food plant that is only 20 minutes from my house. The company is one of the largest food processors in the world and this particular plant has 1100 employees. I wrote my resume around supervision but did not hide the fact that I was an experienced engineer. The resume got through corporate HR and I was called and successfully passed a phone interview. I was asked to interview in the final selection process that was one of those half day, multiple interviewer affairs. Two of the interviewers separately asked why an experienced engineer with management, not just supervision, experience would want this job. I had a answer ready that involved: compensation level is fine, not going to quickly leave bla bla. All the discussions went very well and I even have some experience with a similar factory floor SW package. I was not offered the job. I with I knew the reason.

Prior to this I applied for a building and utilities manager in a school system not far from where I live. I wrote a resume specifically for the job and got interviewed. Due to plant project work that included building construction I met the required qualifications. This was also a lower level job than I have had, but being a State Employee would be worth. The panel interview went well. I did not get the job.

These experiences made me decide to open up my search to any location in the country but if I am going to move I want at least similar pay to what I currently have. Reliability Engineering appears to be an in demand specially and of everything I have done I have liked it the best.

OK so thats my long winded story. I'm trying no to be negative. Actually I am excited about open possibilities.

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#24
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Re: "Mature" Engineer Job Search

11/08/2017 9:32 AM

I feel your pain, at least vicariously. I lost track of how many jobs Mr. Best in Show applied for over the course of five years and the number of interviews he had. Some required him to develop presentations or otherwise spend a good bit of time preparing. He never heard back from most of them. My sense is that employers used him so they could check off a box on an EEO form. This could be what happened to you. And you'll never know, because the lawyers won't let the employer talk candidly with you or even in some cases send a "thanks but no thanks" letter. The lack of response is what rankled Mr. BIS the most.

Keeping my fingers crossed for you!

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#28
In reply to #23

Re: "Mature" Engineer Job Search

11/09/2017 10:05 AM

Have you ever worked in the Power Generation business?

Reliability of of key concern in this industry. If a unit is struck for dispatch, there had best be able to latch her in phase on time, and with the required dispatchable output.

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#25

Re: "Mature" Engineer Job Search

11/08/2017 9:45 AM

Thanks for the encouragement guys.

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#26

Re: "Mature" Engineer Job Search

11/08/2017 10:20 AM

The last position I took was through a temp service as a temp-to-permanent hire. It's worked well for me twice now. The downside is it takes 6 months to a year to go regular and get benefits, but on the plus side, you have an agent (pimp?) out there drumming up work.

BTW, State of Oregon sent out postcards (probably to anyone with a PE) saying that they are looking for project managers/engineers. You might want to check it out.

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BestInShow (3); Brave Sir Robin (1); DaveB (4); James Stewart (5); JavaHead (3); Jpfalt (2); lyn (3); MR. Guest (1); phoenix911 (1); redfred (2); SolarEagle (1); Tom_Consulting (2)

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