After 10 years or so out of school, you find yourself competing with recent graduates if you stick with the basic skills you learned in school. Recent graduates work cheaply. Competition can be tough.
Usually it’s the experience shown on your resume that gets you an interview. The recent graduate may be very sharp, but he/she needs some time to become productive in many job situations. Hiring experienced people means I want someone who can make immediate contributions and not require much training.
In hiring people I usually have others looking over my shoulder. My requirements are often very specific in terms of experience needed. It also helps to have worked for leaders in the industry (often competitors or customers). Previous employers matter and can be a plus as long as non-competes don’t get in the way.
After 10 years you probably have specialized in certain areas. If yours are fields in demand, job searching will be easier. Specialized experience can be valuable, but it may take time to find the right employer.
After 10 years you also tend to be in upper salary brackets. That makes you more vulnerable in cost cutting layoffs. Unless of course you are a key player in a major project.
Networking is often listed as a key for the mid career professional looking for work. People you have worked with over the years know your accomplishments and reputation. They can be sources of opportunities. They may well know who is hiring and what they are looking for. Do let your friends know you are looking.
Don’t forget to consider temp agencies. Manpower and Kelley Scientific, to name two, have listings for temp professionals including chemists. Their salaries are negotiable. Some companies prefer to hire temps. Temping is a opportunity to show what you can do.
Guard against negative thoughts while you are looking. Depression can be a problem. Find some people you can relax with and talk it out. Finding that next job can take time, but most of us find something. Keep your chin up.I always hold the temp agencies at bit at arm's length, but your mileage may vary. Also, I really commend the concerns around depression and having a group of friends that you can talk about your job loss with.