Successful Job Hunting If You’re 45 And Older
If you’re not among the newer entrants into the job market; if, in fact, you’ve got a few decades of professional experience under your belt, you’re extremely valuable.
We’re not speaking here only of the senior segment, or those who are approaching retirement. We’re addressing anyone over 45 who’s been part and parcel of the workforce that, through significant hands-on experience, training and amassed capabilities, are experts par excellence.
Is that you? If so, your background is a veritable goldmine for any business.
Why is that?
Well, aside from the fact that you’ve proven your staying power, loyalty and ethics, your industry wisdom is an asset.
You were taught systems and protocols, the value of which grew incrementally.
You can also claim that, over the years, you functioned as a mentor and teacher; you were relied upon by management to pass along the information you gleaned.
This you did; and you most likely have numerous illustrative anecdotes that you’ve used to pave the way for others. Don’t hesitate to share those anecdotes with your recruiter!
Expect the Double-Takes
Don’t be at all discouraged if you find that people falter over your age. This will often be only an initial reaction and simply indicative of the fact that your recruiter has been seeing younger folks nonstop.
As soon as your mature “look” settles in with your hiring manager, you’ll have more of a chance to sell yourself…to explain what you’re bringing to the table. Don’t stop smiling, or looking confident. Wait it out.
You May Not Be Aware Of Your Attributes
The people who contributed very significantly to a company or to a project seldom realize just how important their qualifications are. Are you often told you are a “natural” at what you do well? If you have been doing your job for so many years that you’ve lost count, this is a GOOD thing.
As long as you are in good health and flexible enough to meet the 9 to 5 rigmarole, your years as a natural will come in handy now that you are in direct competition with fresh faces just out of school.
Demonstrate Your Physical Ability and Your Technical Know-How
Words to the wise: Stay on top of the technical demands of your job. Research EVERYTHING on your industry, and keep your networking group intact.
Spend a few hours online and learn the new phrases and “in talk”.
There are terms unique to each industry; if you don’t already know it, learn the jargon!
Stay in tip-top shape – join a gym and hit the machines!
Eat the healthiest food you can find.
The idea is to walk in the door for an interview and raise eyebrows… NOT because you look puffy and liable to need frequent trips to the doctor, but because your physique is above-average. And when you open your mouth to speak, your mental acumen will become quickly evident.
Remember: those fresh faces don’t know half of what you do. Yes, they’re up on the school book techniques but, as management will find out if it hasn’t already, you can’t teach the ins-and-outs of a job in school.
Think for a moment: If it were YOUR company, wouldn’t you want someone who’d put in 10 to 15 productive years, perhaps having worked his or her way up through several departments? What a terrific resource that would be!
That’s you in a nutshell. Carry that confidence with you to the interview (but be careful not to come across as cocky.)
While you’re at it, you might mention that studies have shown that workers aged 45 and over have been the only segment NOT laid off by industry en masse, during lean times.
Bottom line, there’s nothing like expertise! Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.
Focus On What You Accomplished
If you’re a Baby Boomer and have decided not to depend on a dwindling retirement account, you need to get serious and update your resume. Give it a once-over right now.
Are you using active verbs, like: oversaw, managed, conceptualized, developed, spearheaded, salvaged?
Or do you see a lengthy list of your duties and obligations? Switch that list from “what I had to do” to “what I was successful at accomplishing”.
For instance, rather than tell hiring managers you were responsible for opening the office every morning; making sure the systems were up and running; trouble shooting employee output; e-mail funneling; returning calls from the previous day and setting up a report of what every department was expected to accomplish that day, turn your list of duties into what your actions RESULTED in.
For instance, your reports opened doors for a huge merger that INCREASED your company’s bottom line by 45%. That’s something your hiring manager needs to read about… and hear from you, when you’re interviewing.
If your assessment of all employee output turned in a suggested plan of action that reduced overhead costs by 15%, hey, that’s another notch in your belt that should not be hidden.
See the Forest
Do you see where we’re going with this? Focus on the big picture…on the forest, not the trees.
You’ve heard the saying: “Couldn’t see the forest for the trees?” Fortunately, you had the company’s A-to-Z issues in your sights the entire time. Your overview was right-on. You saw the forest for the trees.
Revamp the Education Portion
Now let’s tackle the education part. Remember how we talked about how you’ve been through plenty of training? Here’s where you can bring that to light.
Where your resume simply states Education, tweak that heading so it reads Seminars and Education or Training and Education (depending on what form of training you attended).
Then, starting with the most recent workshop or training – even a one-week training with your superior consisting of half-hour intervals counts as training –list the month and the year and who (or what) provided the training.
For instance: If your source for one training class was your boss in the year 2015, you might detail the entry this way: 9/15, Intricacies of Marketing and Communications – Source: Ms. Phillipa Phelps, Senior Vice President, XYZ Corporation.
Then list every other training, going backwards.
When you get to your degrees, yes, they’re important, but there’s no need to mention the fact that you were in clubs and sorority classes, and you might not want to include the dates that you attained your degrees.
The exception: any degrees you earned which were completed in the last 15 years.
One more tip: it’s not important that you include jobs that you had more than a decade ago. Structure your resume this way — the verbiage will focus on your goal: what you’ll be doing GOING FORWARD (with your recent past as a suitable foundation).