Q: I retired at age 50, two years ago from Sacramento County Dept. Of Human Assistance as a social worker with a master's degree. All the master level social workers were either demoted or laid off due to budget cuts. During this time I have become a certified drug and alcohol counselor and volunteer at a facility one time per week. I feel very stuck. I have applied for many jobs and can't seem to find the right niche. I'm sure my age is not helping. I change my cover letter each time to reflect the job for which I'm applying, and although I've had some interviews, no luck. Any advice would be helpful.
Tonia - Sacramento
A: First of all, you are doing all of the right things with respect to your employment plan. The volunteer experience that you are gaining will go a long way in contributing to your marketability for a drug and alcohol counselor job. You mentioned that you are changing up your cover letter, but are you also changing up your résumé? Looking at the experience required for each opening and changing your experience verbiage to address the employer's specific criteria will make your résumé stand out from the competition.
I would also suggest that you consider visiting the professional job search networking group, Sacramento Professional Network. SacProNet provides a supportive environment for professional job seekers, including employment related workshops and coaching. For more information visit sacpronet.com.
Lastly, the best job opportunity sources for drug and alcohol dounselors is Indeed.com, which also has direct links to job descriptions and application sites from private employers. You might also want to search for related, alternative job titles such as substance abuse counselor or treatment center monitor for example.