Although the US economy is heating up, competition for open jobs remains fierce as the long-term unemployed and long-time employed return to or enter the market.
Related: Fired & Over 50: What To Do
What does this mean for you if you are over 50 and seeking a new role? It means it’s time to get your game on:
1. Restrict the work history reported at length on your resume and LinkedIn profile to the last 15 years.
Recruiters know your experience and skills can expire like an old loaf of bread (without the mold), which is why the majority of them prefer to see only your more recent experience on your resume and profile. List the last 15 years of your experience in both locations and include your employment dates so they can see you have nothing to hide.
2. Eliminate the education dates on your resume and LinkedIn profile.
Likewise, dates included on resumes and LinkedIn profiles for education, coursework, affiliations, awards, or any other details will also cause your candidacy to be overlooked in cases where less than 15 years of experience is requested. I would strongly suggest “whitewashing” these documents of all such pre-2000 dates.
3. Devise a strategy for how (or whether to) to include your early career experience on your resume and LinkedIn profile.
But what do you do if your early career experience is valuable or contains impressive achievements that should not be omitted from your resume or LinkedIn profile? One option is to divide the experience on your resume into two categories and place all of the pre-2000 roles into an early career section without any employment dates listed. Instead, include the total amount of time you spent with each employer (e.g. “3 years” rather than 1990 – 1993). Note that you should only do this for an additional 10 years or so of work history.
4. Showcase your career brand in your resume’s and profile’s summary.
Surely this is old news by now? In today’s competitive job market, a resume without an exceptionally strong career brand simply won’t get read. If your summary contains phrases, descriptors, and facts that are true of 75% or more of the candidates you will be competing against, then your brand is much too generic.
5. Focus your resume, LinkedIn profile, and interviewing on your bottom-line impacts.
Two valuable things that post-50 job seekers possess are experience and achievements. If you highlight the depth and breadth of your experience and include the positive impacts your tenure has had on your employer’s profitability, sales, efficiency, cost containment, or productivity, you will automatically be proving the value of your experience.
6. Ask your references and LinkedIn recommenders to stress your ability to learn new things and communicate effectively with a wide range of people.
You don’t need all of your LinkedIn recommenders to stress your zeal for lifelong learning, but it’s wise to make sure at least a few of them do. Likewise ensure that all of your formal references are prepared to speak about times you had to quickly ramp up on the job, particularly with new technologies.
7. Be prepared to be interviewed and supervised by folks younger than you.
The older you are the more likely it is that you will be interviewed or managed by someone younger. Prepare now by practicing your interview techniques with a younger person who communicates very differently from you. In case you get asked about your current reading material or movies, have the names of recent ones at the ready. Remember to use your interviewer’s first name and look for a genuine compliment you can pay them.
8. Learn how to leverage social media in your search.
Whether your job function requires knowledge of social media or not, it is imperative that you demonstrate your willingness to change with the times. Hence resisting social media is unwise in your job search. This doesn’t mean you have to get current with LinkedIn and Facebook and Google+ and Twitter, but it is smart to pick a minimum of one (LinkedIn) and preferably two social media sites to employ in your search. I would also suggest using Twitter, even if all you do is review tweeted news about your target companies.
9. Freshen up your LinkedIn photo. While you’re at it, ask a young person in your life if you need a wardrobe makeover.
Invest in a professional head shot for your LinkedIn profile. As the old adage goes, you never get a second chance to make a first impression, so be honest with yourself about whether your photo or wardrobe ages you, and if it does, take appropriate action.
10. Consider employing a thought leadership job search strategy.
As an older worked, you may want to consider thought leadership as the linchpin of your search, especially if you have an impressive range of experience and achievements behind you. Check out these seven ways a thought leadership strategy can boost your brand on LinkedIn.
The overriding message here is to recognize that you cannot job search in the same ways you have in the past. You must adapt to current and emerging job search trends. Doing so has its own reward in a shorter and much more successful search.
About the author
A 15-time, award-winning resume writer, Cheryl Lynch Simpson serves mid-career to senior executives as a credentialed resume writer (ACRW), LinkedIn strategist (COPNS), and Get Clear, Get Found, Get Hired (G3) coach. Like her advice? Check out her website, ExecutiveResumeRescue.com for a complimentary copy of her popular Polish Your Profile LinkedIn presentation, or follow her on Twitter!
Disclosure: This post is sponsored by a CAREEREALISM-approved expert. You can learn more about expert posts here.
Photo Credit: Shutterstock