Dear Bob ...
It has come to my attention that the article at the website
says that Cobol jobs may still exist. I need to know how that's possible. Since I was laid off in 2001 I cannot find jobs and have been struggling to find one.
I live in major metropolitan area and relocation is not an option.
My experience has been that some companies require overqualified job candidate to meet unrealistic expectations.
Can you advise?
Dear Unemployed ...
It's hard to avoid the conclusion that the issue is your competitiveness in the employment marketplace, not an inappropriate set of requirements on the part of prospective employers.
You stated two issues: Unrealistic performance expectations, and insistence on inappropriately high levels of qualification on the part of applicants. This seems like an unlikely interpretation. Here's why:
My major premise is that these companies probably aren't leaving the positions unfilled. My minor premise is that it's unlikely a large number of companies will all make the same mistake over and over again.
My conclusion: The companies you refer to are requiring a level of qualification that results in the performance expectations being realistic, and are finding enough qualified applicants to fill the positions.
That being the case, it appears you aren't competitive in the marketplace -- you lack the skills, aptitudes and demonstrated performance others are able to provide.
The question is what you do about it, now that you have a seven year gap in your employment record ... a gap most employers will look at and read the word "risk" in bright, bold, red letters.
The best answer I have is not very satisfactory: You'll have to find a company you want to work for that will hire you in some non-IT-related, generalist capacity -- one that almost certainly will pay much less than you want and will have less prestige and professional value than you'd like. One for which your employment gap isn't so much of a barrier that you can't get in.
In that role, whatever it is, find every opportunity you can to demonstrate the additional value your computer literacy can provide to your manager and your manager's manager, whether the skill is Excel, VBA automation or whatever. You aren't going to have a chance to exercise your Cobol just yet. Your goal is to establish a reputation as a valuable employee who shows initiative, takes responsibility, and has brains, good judgment, and knows technology.
Once you've done that you'll be in a position to apply for internal opportunities in IT.
You're going to have to restart your career. It's going to be a challenge. In particular, maintaining a positive outlook during what will be several years of underemployment will be seriously hard, as you see less-talented employees out-earning you and enjoying more prestige as they do.
I don't see any alternative, though. Perhaps other readers might, though, so keep an eye on the Comments.
Does anyone else see a better strategy for Unemployed?