Unemployed x13 Months - Help!

by Nurse Beth Nurse Beth, MSN (Columnist) Educator Columnist Innovator Expert Nurse

Specializes in Med Surg, Tele, ICU, Ortho. Has 30 years experience.

Dear Nurse Beth,

I'm currently unemployed. I have been looking for a job for 13 months and no one will hire me. I have over 23 years experience as a nurse. My background is in critical care/ER. I'm also 59 years of age and male. I live in the Atlanta area and I see several openings for RN's, I apply and no one calls me for a interview by phone or in person. I would like to know if there is a shortage or the employers are "picky", or the employers have so many people to pick and chose. I need some help/information to find a job. Please keep me anonymous. Thank you


Dear No Calls for an Interview,

Hang in there and let's see what can be done to improve your prospects.

If you have been submitting resumes now for 13 months with no bites”, the problem may be your resume. At first glance, your extensive critical care/ED experience is golden! But something in your resume is holding you back.

You could be experiencing ageism. Read Is Age Discrimination Real? Older nurses command a higher salary and often their experience is not as valued as it should be.

Minimize or shorten your work history in your resume- go back 10 or 15 years, not 23. Under Education, list your degrees but not year graduated. Leave off ‘References on Request”, it is a given and is an outdated phrase.

Is your email address professional and up to date? Best is firstname.lastname@gmail.com. If your email is aol.com, get a new one.

Do you have a Linkedin profile? If you are seriously job searching, build one and include the link in your resume. Are you purposefully individualizing your resume to each potential employer? Remember, your resume is not about you- it's about what you can do for them.

What active networking are you doing? A majority of jobs are secure by networking. Read 5 Networking Myths. Your full time job now is...landing a job.

Best wishes,

Nurse Beth




Specializes in Psych, Addiction. Has 5 years experience. 69 Posts

Ageism does exist! When I was looking at schools, I had two admissions representatives say that I probably wouldn't get into their nursing programs because I was a "nontraditional student". I didn't choose those schools, and I not only got into a great program but I have exceeded my own high expectations. I'm almost 57 and finishing my RN-BSN. I have had soft offers (PLEASE apply here after you graduate, we'd love to have you on our staff) from every facility where I have done clinicals. I think Beth is right, they probably think that your wage demands will be more than they want to pay, considering they can get someone with a year or two of experience for less. If they could just meet you, you could win them over, right? So, over your years of experience, surely you have made friends? Ask them to recommend you at their facility! Surely someone you know is working at a hospital or clinic where you would work! Get onto a Facebook page for local nurses and sell yourself and your skills in a carefully crafted post. Network! Opportunity doesn't knock, you have to get up and go looking for it.


38,333 Posts

Age discrimination. I have had employers be quite open about it. Only thing you can do is to persist until you succeed in getting an offer. Since the subject of long term unemployment often comes up when you do get an interview, best to have a prepared answer, such as 'employers have told me they have no available positions'. Blunt, but true. You don't have to complete the sentence with 'for me' or 'for someone my age'.



25 Posts

No calls for an interview, I hope you are reading this. With your experience you should be getting many calls for interviews. You need a professional resume, even though they are expensive you will get results. Many people will disagree with me, but trust me the results are worth the financial investment. Contact Jeri@WorkwriteResumes.com, I do not work for her or get any compensation. I just know that she will be able to help you. You have to believe in yourself and apply for as many positions as you can once you get the right resume and cover letter.



6 Posts

If you are interested in psychiatry, Ridgeview Institute is hiring.


Alex_RN, BSN

Has 7 years experience. 329 Posts

How about Registry to get your foot in the door at a facility you like? I have never done Registry so I don't know if there is a contractual clause preventing a facility from poaching from their Registry.

TheCommuter, BSN, RN

Specializes in Case mgmt., rehab, (CRRN), LTC & psych. Has 16 years experience. 226 Articles; 27,608 Posts

I wonder if the OP is applying only to ER and critical care positions...

Anecdotally, I've noted that certain non-hospital specialties (hospice, private duty, home health, corrections, psych) seem more welcoming to nurses in 'older' age groups.



35 Posts

Travel Nursing!!! Even if this is not something you want to stick with, do the 13 week first assignment to get back in the market. Plus, this is from personal experience, about a two weeks ago I signed for an indeed.com account because I was interested in a job I saw on that website. I uploaded my resume and was getting ready to apply for the job when I saw that it was not in my geographical area. I decided to take my resume back down and just look around some more. In that 20 minutes or so from uploading the resume and looking around on the site, I was emailed twice from prospective employers. I am a second career nurse, and have only been one going on 4 years. Times seem pretty good out there for a job. Now, a good bit of advice don't wait around for them to call you. I applied on a Wednesday, called the hospital on Thursday to speak with someone in recruiting about openings, was asked to come in that day for an interview, and was made a verbal offer. No one is going to get upset with you calling to check on your application. I'd say that is what has happened to the positions you have applied for...someone called and jumped in front of you. Good luck!!!



7 Posts

As a manager who does a lot of interviews, a couple of items that I look at on an application/resume that turn me off from meeting with the applicant are:

Length of time worked at each facility - short durations and job hopping are a turn off

Reasons for leaving jobs - "personal reasons", too much work, etc are turn offs

Quality of the grammar/punctuation indicate the quality of documentation and are important parts of the application

Lastly, there is absolutely no way to identify ageism on an application or resume as ages/DOB are not permitted to be asked. The only way to deduce age is the length of job experiences i.e. worked at XYZ for 40 years. For a nurse with 21 years experience, that would lead me to believe they're not too old.

Good luck, NY is in great need for nurses, including critical care.



412 Posts

Change location. Critical nurses are hot cake in NY, 55 to 60$ an hr. My employer pay 58.97$ for per diem critical care nurse.



7 Posts

Your resume might need to be updated. Your cover letter should summarize your job experience, and reflect what skills as electronic doc., apps, software etc. I live in Ca, and there are many RN positions. Everytime I have submitted my resume, I get a response within a days or weeks for an interview. When you do get an interview, research the company thoroughly, and be prepared to wow the interviewers. I personally have done this, and I have always landed an offer.

They really want to see you have done your homework. There is a great demand in Case Management. Good luck on your job quest.



Specializes in med/surg---long term---pvt duty. Has 30 years experience. 65 Posts

Yes Ma'am, age/experience discrimination exists... Several years ago I was looking for a job and had a great interview where the Unit Manager doing the interview flat out said.... "I would love to hire you!! You are exactly the type of nurse I want on my team with your experience and personality but.... you have too many years in. My boss would not let me hire you because you would start at the top of the pay scale and with the raises etc, you would be making too much money. We can hire a new nurse for half of what we would be paying you.... sadly, with half of the experience also." I have also had other interviews where a "new" nurse was hired for less money.