New Grad Age 60 Can't Land a Job

  1. Dear Nurse Beth,

    I have written to you before regarding ageism. I earned my BSN about 2 years ago and still do not have a job as a nurse. I am now ACLS cert. and was advised that may help. I was looking to start any job as a Nurse Residency. It is now obvious that my nursing degree and career will not be fulfilled. What career advice do you have for me at this point? I am about to turn 60. By the way, I think you were using my story in one of your books. Was wondering how that all worked out. Thank you.



    Dear Age 60,

    It may be harder to land a job at your age, but at age 60 you still have a lot to offer. Ageism is alive and well, but there are probably factors at play other than age if you have not landed a job after 2 years. It could be that your resume and cover letter need improvement to catch a recruiter's eye.

    It's true you will not be eligible for most residencies at the 2-year mark. It may be that you need to broaden your search. Have you applied to dialysis, sub-acute care, even Corrections? If you are able to relocate, some areas have a greater need for nurses than others. The most important thing for you now is to land your first job- not your dream job. Have you activated your network, meaning contacted classmates who are working, and let them know you are looking for a job? Register on Indeed.com

    Thanks for asking about my book (below), it's been more of a success than I imagined and I love hearing when it helps job seekers.

    Don't give up. Persistence pays off. Call up that determination you showed when you got through nursing school


    Best wishes,

    Nurse Beth
    Author, "Your Last Nursing Class: How to Land Your First Nursing Job"...and your next!
    Last edit by tnbutterfly on Sep 21
  2. Visit Nurse Beth profile page

    About Nurse Beth, MSN, RN

    Joined: Mar '07; Posts: 1,567; Likes: 4,704
    Nursing Professional Development Specialist; from CA , US
    Specialty: Med Surg, Tele, ICU, Ortho

    28 Comments

  3. by   CVICUnurse1
    Dear Age 60,

    I don't have real advice for finding a job, but I am rooting for you and hope you land one soon. Keep striving. I'm sure you will be great wherever you end up.

    Good luck!
  4. by   159Nursesrule
    Where are you applying? Are you being to selective? Have you tried home health, SNF. Have you opened yourself to all shifts?
  5. by   anononurse
    I really feel for you. Discrimination against older nurses is alive & well! Have you considered hospice nursing or home health? I agree you need to take whatever you can get & learn all you can. Having some nursing experience will definitely make you more marketable. Good luck!
  6. by   rockchickrn
    Have you considered psych? I am very happily employed on the psych. unit in my local hospital and have noticed that there are quite a few of us that aren't exactly 20 somethings on my unit.
  7. by   Banaltracht
    I am 66yrs old and work a full time (3 12hr shifts a wk) in a rehab/sub acute facility and I also pick up 8hr shifts for an agency at local nursing homes.

    The nursing shortage is critical in my state of Michigan and I could easily work double shifts every single day if I had the desire (and stamina)

    Two things to consider though....

    1) Your resume is being seen by a computer before it ever gets
    bumped to a human. Make sure your resume is formatted to deal with that.

    2) Take a cold hard look in the mirror. I've known 60 yr olds that can run marathons and 60 yr olds that are my patients. Nursing is hard, physically demanding work and you are interacting with the public. Like it or not...if you make it to the interview stage you will be judged on appearance and how you present.
    Are you vibrant, energetic and enthusiastic....or sluggish, SOB and in questionable health.

    There is plenty of work available...if you want to work as a nurse there are plenty of opportunities.

    Best of luck.
  8. by   LPN2b59
    This is my concern. i am 60 applying to nursing schools and wonder if i should get the LPN first and then bridge to RN.I know I would like to do either nursing home or mental health.
  9. by   rockyroad#
    Unfortunately that's the world we're living in where age, race and ethnicity have to do with job opportunities! In my opinion, age shouldn't be a factor for getting a job as long the person can perform. I remember going to nursing school and one my classmates was in her sixties and her grades were all As, while the youger ones struggling to get Bs. Maybe you should move to Florida because we're desperate for nurses. If you don't mind driving, maybe you try home health.I wish you luck!
  10. by   djh123
    At least 2 people have said that ageism is 'alive and well' - having possibly been victim of it myself when trying to look for my first nursing job, I'd say it's 'alive and stupid'.
    I'd recommend that you try some 'alternative' jobs as others have mentioned, plus a few of my own - corrections, LTC, psych hospital... scour information and lists on all types of nursing. I also recommend that you minimize previous job experience and don't put dates, which can reveal your age (range, at least) instantly rather than waiting 'til they interview you. I have my previous degree on my resume but removed the dates. I describe my previous career in a short paragraph but again, list no dates.
    Dye your hair and/or get some microdermabrasion done if you think you need to. Seriously... I just don't know what else to recommend. But lastly, I want to say that I DID get over that initial pain-in-the-*** period of looking for a job, and now I'm 60 myself, with 5.5 years experience, and I have lots of options. So yes, don't give up, perhaps be more creative on the job search, go for it, and good luck.
  11. by   Leader25
    What can I say,I wish you luck keep trying.Try out of hospital jobs,floor nursing is very harsh,rough on the body.I am not saying you can not handle it but why wreck your health trying to prove how young you are.As for appearance if you can manage to look younger than your age it is good.Impressions are vital.Do your hair and makeup carefully with that in mind.Good support under garments are important,avoid the droopy tits look,but do not try to look like a teen ,just fresh and vibrant.Check your teeth,have stains removed.I am sure there is a job for you out there.Good luck.
  12. by   cin808
    All good suggestions. Updating her appearance can help except, nowadays, one click of the mouse and you can find out someone's age.
  13. by   Jules A
    And while it isn't fair or legal important to be mindful of our limitations and practical when making these type of changes. In my 50s it would be ridiculous if I attempted to start medical school despite wishing I was a physician, having the money to finance it and probably the intelligence to accomplish that goal. Same when I was younger and cute but at 5'8" not nearly tall enough to be a super model so theres that. I pursued other avenues rather than putting myself through the agony of attempting to be the one in a million exception.

    In our current society of everyone gets a trophy and there are no winners or losers [sic] I think we tend to forget addressing our limitations and working within them is a smart choice and sets one up for success.
  14. by   Tomascz
    I was 63 yoa when I landed my first job as an RN on an acute care unit. I turned down two SNF jobs and ultimately two other hospital jobs ( I had landed this one already) before I started working here (six months after passing the NCLEX and quitting my CNA job at a hospital that refused to interview me, to the chagrin of the RNs on my unit who wanted me to hire on badly. I'm a damn good nurse). I was relentless in my job search and knew what I wanted (acute care). I applied all over the country (none in the south except FL, once, and that reluctantly) and attended online and virtual job fairs. I interviewed in person in three surrounding states and at multiple hospitals in the state in which I graduated. I got turned down beau coup times. I have an ingrained hatred of HR dept's that will last me a life time.
    You need to apply to a federal institution through USAJOBS - The Federal Government's official employment site The variety of RN jobs is astonishing, and ranges from Forest Service to Prisons and everything in between. The system is sloooow. Took me six months to get here. I'd suggest looking at VA. They'll give you a bit of credit for your BSN. I understand IHS is no longer hiring new grads w/o experience, but again, don't take anybody's word for anything.

    I was never asked my age (it's illegal and federal service is under the microscope, plus, because of need, based on my application and a phone interview, I was offered a live interview and was hired), and apparently I don't look it, but I'm obviously older than 50. Attitude counts for a lot. Any federal service you have under your belt will count toward your retirement too. You can PM me for more details.
    Last edit by Tomascz on Sep 23 : Reason: clarification

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