The white-collar unemployed, not a constituency that's traditionally been very vocal in politics, came to Beacon Hill Wednesday to ask lawmakers for tools to help get them back to work.

For those out of work in professional fields for several months or years, it can be hard to keep up with the specializations and certifications most industries require. Jobseekers are asking lawmakers to build a more flexible workforce development system with funding to fit their needs. They say many of the state's services for the unemployed are geared to lower-skilled workers and aren't equipped to deal with white-collar professionals.

Lucy, who didn't want her last name to appear in this report, worked during the dot-com boom before turning her attention to caring for her mother. As she's sought work in the last few year, Lucy's found that many of her old contacts have left the business and a younger generation of employers are in charge.

"At the time when I was ready to go back to work, the recession hit. So it's just been a confluence of different factors. It's been almost impossible. It's been impossible to come above it.... I'm 45. And so it's really easy for them to throw my resume out of the pile," Lucy said.

For others like Kevin, 59, short-term or substitute work in education has replaced a career as an administrator. Kevin said he came close to another administrator role after the alternative school project he worked at closed its doors.

"I came close. I didn't get it within the first year and at that stage of the game your resume has a hole in it. And what used to be very common place to get immediate response to my resume became less so," Kevin said.

Research from the Institute for Career Transitions says that in the aftermath of the Great Recession, those unemployed longer than 27 weeks - regardless of their education or experience - are at a significant disadvantage for getting a new job.

There's also legislation in the works that if passed would prevent employers from looking at job seekers' credit reports when they apply. Ten other states currently do this already and Sen. Elizabeth Warren has backed similar legislation at the national level.

Sen. Mike Barrett from Lexington argues that credit reports are often used to make hiring decisions even though they have little to do with job performance.