NSCN Member Success Story: Q&A with Liz

Liz reflects on her challenging 2-year journey and her happy ending as a senior finance director.

Liz sent the following note to Maria and Michele:

Hello Maria and Michelle,

After a very long 2 year job search I landed as a Senior Finance Director, Global R&D at a fragrance and cosmetics company.

I started a couple of months ago. I was thrilled to go back however surprised at how much of an adjustment it was!

I’ve been meaning to let you know that I had a happy outcome and to thank you  or the wonderful work you are doing. I have always worked, having a progressive career until my position relocated to Europe. Although I am in my 50s I never imagined I would face age discrimination in my job search believing my credentials would be enough, as it has been throughout my career.

I was wrong! I was and still am amazed at the comments made to me during my search.

It was a difficult job search, and yes at times most challenging emotionally.  Your program helped me to hang on. The saying ‘misery loves company’ comes to mind; reassuring that I was not alone as a 50+ job candidate.

I took advantage of online and F2F training programs which were always beneficial. I always left sessions feeling energized and motivated to continue searching. The weekly emails were very welcomed.

I thought it was important for both of you to know that you are providing us aging baby boomers a great service. Aging yes but still vital and have a lot to offer.

All the best to you, continue the good work!

Let me know if I can ever be of assistance.

Best regards,

Q&A with Liz

What is your new job?

I accepted a position as a full-time faculty member in the College of Education at Kean University. My position is Senior Finance Director, R&D for a global cosmetics and fragrance company.

Is this new job in a different occupation or industry for you?  If so, how did you position yourself to make the change?  

The job is similar to my previous role however it was in the pharmaceutical industry. I focused on highlighting how my experienced matched the technical requirements, related project initiatives and behavioral capabilities necessary to be successful in the role. While ensuring I addressed what the comparisons were, I also highlighted that the industry was different and that the position was exciting for that reason as well.

How long were you unemployed before finding a new job?

This bout of long-term unemployment lasted just over a year-and-a-half.  I was in a long-term job search – 2 years.

What was most challenging about your job search?

The length of time (2 years) to secure a job was challenging. I pushed myself, even when I didn’t feel like it, to stay engaged and get out and meet people, join new networking meetings. I challenged myself to meet and follow up after each networking event with 2-3 people I met at the event. This helped to increase my network.

What strategies or tools helped you get this job?

This job was posted on Indeed. I then when to my LinkedIn connections to see if anyone had contacts at the company. I found a former colleague did, in fact she actually worked for the hiring manager in a previous company.  I was able to leverage this relationship by having my former colleague reach out to the hiring manager on my behalf.

How did you learn about the New Start Career Network (NSCN)?

I first heard about the group from a Governor Phil Murphy campaign commercial that featured a group member. His situation and message resonated with me.

In what ways did NSCN assist you in your job search?

I relied on the website content, Facebook page and attended most in-person training sessions and events. I found the NCSN community to be a group who shared the same challenges – being an older, out of work professional. Also, the content was relevant and helpful.

What advice would you give to other NSCN members?  

Be patient and stay focused. Unfortunately for those of us who are more senior in experience and age will be faced with age discrimination. I never expected this to be the case when I entered the job market as I believed my experience would be attractive to others. It happened. Do not let it define you however. You will find the right opportunity like I did, they appreciate my experience and are grateful for the changes I have brought to the workplace.

What recommendations would you make to NSCN to better help job seekers?

Not surprising after being in transition for 2 years I had my share of difficult times emotionally getting through this time. While it is very easy to wallow in self-pity you must push yourself to interact with others through networking events, checking in with friends, former colleagues, and new networking relationships. Through this process I met some incredible people whom I now call friends. When I entered my job search, I was a reluctant networker. What changed my mind was reaching out to someone who was a friend of a friend. She ended up being one of my best advocates and she gave me the confidence to reach out with hesitation to others. I found my best resources and cheerleaders during my search were not the former colleagues I considered friends. It was people who were 2nd or 3rd connections that went out of their way to help me.  Also offer to help/mentor others you meet in the process. I continue to this day to mentor 2 people to be successful in their careers. People do value the wisdom that comes with age!