What employers look for of those re-entering the workforce

Sep 23, 2011

Finding a job in today's economy is difficult in the best of circumstances, but many women are facing an even bigger challenge: returning to the workforce after a long absence. Researchers recently looked at the characteristics on older women's resumes that received the most success in securing job interviews. The top characteristic that resulted in job interviews for middle-aged women seeking an entry level job was vocational or computer training, according to the study in the Journal of Career Development (JCD).

In the article "The Resume Characteristics Determining Job Interviews for Middle-Aged Women Seeking Entry-Level ," researchers looked at the effects of age, job-related experience, vocational training, outside activities, and length of gaps in work history. Researchers sent varying resumes to more than 3500 employers in Boston and St. Petersburg, FL, and studied the responses from employers interested in conducting interviews with their "candidates." Employers represented various fields of industry and the jobs listed were all entry-level positions requiring up to one year of post-high school education and combined work experience.

"Employers focus almost exclusively on educational background in the entry-level jobs studied," wrote Emily Johnson and Joanna Lahey. "The benefits of adding volunteer experiences, hobbies, or involvement in sports may help in some communities more than others, and while they may not hurt the potential for an interview, these activities do not guarantee an interview for an entry-level job position."

Some of the findings go directly against what today's career guides direct job seekers to do, not the authors. The lack of impact of outside activities did not carry the same importance as a lot of today's job manuals profess. Johnson and Lahey hope their findings will impact the advice to middle-age women by career counselors, and encourage them to seek further education or vocational training to stay current with today's sought after skills.

" may be helped in their decision making processes by knowledge of employer demand and specifically by knowledge of the items employers are looking for that could make employees more attractive," wrote the authors.

Johnson and Lahey's results also confirmed a previous study that showed a negative correlation between age and hiring.

Explore further: Personalized advertising attracts more attention, makes the contents of ads easier to remember

More information: jcd.sagepub.com/content/38/4/310.full.pdf+html

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Entry-Level Workers Head into a Mixed Market

Apr 03, 2007

A new report sheds light on a tight entry-level market with little hope for improved wages for recent college graduates, almost half of whom expect to move back in with their parents to make ends meet.

Job seekers: How do you rate with employers?

Feb 22, 2011

Finding employment can be a daunting task. Millions of college graduates, new to the professional work force, face this challenge every year after receiving their degrees. Many have sacrificed and toiled for perfect grades, ...

Job strain associated with stroke in Japanese men

Jan 12, 2009

Japanese men in high-stress jobs appear to have an increased risk of stroke compared with those in less demanding positions, according to a report in the January 12 issue of Archives of Internal Medicine.

Recommended for you

Why are UK teenagers skipping school?

Dec 18, 2014

Analysis of the results of a large-scale survey reveals the extent of truancy in English secondary schools and sheds light on the mental health of the country's teens.

Fewer lectures, more group work

Dec 18, 2014

Professor Cees van der Vleuten from Maastricht University is a Visiting Professor at Wits University who believes that learning should be student centred.

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.