Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Job Hunting for Widows

Have you tried to re-enter the workforce as a widow? I'm interested in hearing your experiences, and I know other widows are too. From what I hear, it's not easy! So please send in your job-hunting tips and advice.

My tip is this: Don't mention that you're a widow unless necessary. When I was widowed I found myself going into detail about my widowhood and life when I filled out job appllications. I thought hiring a widow would be a real "plus" for any organization and I'd emphasize how my disadvantages were their advantages. But those job applications and resumes never got my foot in the door.

Here are some better ways to start:
Go back to school to either brush up on your skills, or acquire some skills. Check local colleges and county resources for adult education and vocational training. There may be programs for displaced homemakers that will fit your needs. And you might be able to do internships, get good references from your professors, and have access to better job leads on their bulletin boards and at their job fairs.

Contact your state's human services and social programs. They might offer training and employement services.

If you're a military veteran or interested in a government job, search USA Jobs.
If you're 55 or older, here's a placement program that operates in 30 states: Experience Works.

Look for volunteer opportunities, and substitute positions. As a volunteer you can begin to build a resume and a list of good references and networks. Substitutes aren't only for teachers anymore. Sub jobs might be available at your local library and other workplaces. Many employers post job openings within the company first, so volunteers and subs have the inside track on job opportunities before they're posted to the public.

For part-time cash consider tutoring students in your favorite subjects; contact local churches to see if they need babysitting during their weekly Bible study times; or follow through with your own set of special skills---catering, writing, art, music lessons, housecleaning, data entry, setting up yard sales, gardening, sewing and tailoring, pet care and house-sitting, etc to test the market for starting your own business.

Don't be afraid of menial work. In the Bible, the young widow Ruth went to work gleaning the fields---a job cut out for the poorest of the poor. What opportunity could that ever hold? How could she get ahead, or even get enough to eat with a job like that? Read Ruth 2 - 4 and you'll see that God used her willingness to work to introduce her to a redeeming husband and care for both her needs and Naomi's. God's still in the business of caring for widows today when we step in to glean the fields of opportunity in front of us.  


  1. Just recently a couple of weeks ago, a lady in Sunday School had mentioned about her grand kids getting out of college and there just weren't any jobs available. A lady then said "yes, there are jobs out there, but the real deal is there aren't a lot of positions". Many today want positions with perks and entitlements, but Ruth in her humility wasn't too proud to bow and take a lower menial job.
    If we watch t.v. much, it's influence and focus is upon the superficial of youth, glamour, beauty etc....
    And (if we allow) we find ourselves depressed in the competitive trends of the superficial, but the good news is God is Greater than t.v. advertising and he has our number and he promises he will supply all our needs and provisions (yes) regardless of every door that closes, somewhere a window will open. I pray for every widow out there not to grow weary, God always provides a way.

  2. Amen, anonymous! Thank you for praying and thank you for commenting. I know how easy it is to let the culture around us and the tv in front of us present unrealistic lifestyles. The Lord truly does care for us and supply our needs like you said.

  3. Not long after my beloved husband, DC, died in November of 2012, I knew I had to go back to work and hopefully back to work full time with benefits. Although it was not as bad as the period of 2008 - 2010, there were still not a lot of jobs with benefits (especially in the small town area I live) and there were still a lot of younger, qualified people with a lot less gray hair than me looking for jobs. But I applied (my first online application!) for a job at a bank. I went in, interviewed and after she saw my qualifications, she asked me to come work for them in an even better job. I did briefly mention my life situation, but only because it was only 6 months after my husband's death and I honestly did not know if emotionally I really handle the job and I wanted to be honest with her. I know this approach and situation will not work out for everyone but the reason it did with me is because after my husband's death, I learned what it meant to truly surrender all to my Father, to trust him with everything and to quit trying to do it all myself. And one of the first reasons I learned that was because I was just too tired and grief stricken to do all my usual controlling antics. This was one of my first "gifts" of widowhood. (Never thought I would say that.) I finally let it all go and learned how wonderful, amazing and glorious our Father is. I surrender everything to Him every day. Most amazingly, this job that was offered to me was not only full time with benefits but the most amazing thing of all was that it was in a department with 20 other women and instead of being the drama circus it could have been, they are 20 of the most amazing, supportive and loving women you could hope to meet. And most, if not all, are Christian women who practice their faith at work as well as at home. Only my most glorious heavenly Father could have led me to that job with those women at that time -- those women who have not only supported me in my job, but also have gotten me through the personal roller coaster of the last year and half since my husband died and have given me back my laugh, my hope, and some sense of a new "normalcy" and I have a whole new set of Christian sisters. My point is, in thinking of going back to work, be sure to look at it from a common sense and budgetary and financial needs viewpoint, but most importantly be sure to surrender it all to your Father and listen to Him. Pray, talk and listen to him while looking at want ads and job descriptions. He will give you discernment. I "just knew" when I was interviewing that it was "okay" to mention my widowhood to the woman who would be my supervisor. And I "just knew" that this job was the one I should take. You "know" as long as you keep talking, praying, listening and surrendering all to Him. And seek advice from others in your situation. I am so thankful for finding this website and reading all the wonderful, helpful and uplifting comments and all the interesting and helpful contributions from everyone and especially thankful for Ferree for maintaining this and for all her work. What a blessing she and this website is. Thank you so much. Vanette

  4. Thank YOU, Vanette! This is why I do what I do! Your story is so encouraging!


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