Older job seekers often complain that companies don’t want to hire them because of their age. These individuals often recount tales of sending out hundreds of resumes without getting a job. However, employment facts and interviews with hiring managers simply don’t back up these ageism claims. So one has to question whether the older workers really do have trouble finding employment, or whether they are using this excuse as a crutch to explain not getting a job.
Being an older worker is not a disadvantage in the modern workforce. In fact, older workers have many qualities working in their favor that younger workers don’t possess. Here are some suggestions on how to use your age as an asset during a job search.
Transform from an Older Worker into a Seasoned Veteran
One mistake that older job seekers make in their resumes is assuming that a long work history translates into greater knowledge or skills. That simply isn’t true, and most employers know this. There are some older workers who have cruised through their careers without learning new skills or technology. That’s why you have to prove that you have learned something along the way.
Do this by providing relevant information and statistics on the results of the work you performed. Give examples of projects that you worked on and how you excelled at increasing revenue, managing diverse personalities or reducing costs. This approach transforms you from an older worker into an experienced, seasoned veteran.
Apply for the Right Jobs
For some older workers, the problem is that they are not applying for the right jobs. If you have 20 years of experience but continue to apply for entry or mid-level jobs, you may very well get turned down. However, an applicant who is 38 will get turned down for those jobs just as often as someone who is 58. It’s not your age that is holding you back, but the fact that you are overqualified for the positions. Find positions that you are qualified for and apply to them instead.
Write a Resume, Not a Biography
Many older workers have a difficult time editing down their extensive work histories to only two pages. However, it’s important that you only include information that is most pertinent to the job you are applying for. While you may have many other interesting facts, a manager simply doesn’t have time to read them. Additionally, those extra facts will be seen as irrelevant by HR staff who may never pass your resume along to the manager. Many older workers find that a functional resume is a better format than the traditional chronological style. If you don’t think that you are unbiased enough to edit down your resume, or are unfamiliar with functional resumes, ask for professional help. Professional resume writers know what today’s hiring managers are looking for. They also know how to translate outdated terminology and skills into ones that modern-day managers can relate to.
Age-Proof Your Resume
A resume is supposed to highlight your accomplishments, not your age. Yet many older workers inadvertently include items that highlight their age instead of downplaying it. While including dates by each of your jobs is required, you don’t need to list the year that you received your degree. In addition, review your list of software and delete any that are no longer in existence. It doesn’t matter that you know how to use something if no one uses it anymore. Finally, bring your resume into the modern age by including both your email address and your LinkedIn profile address. If you don’t have either of these, make it your goal to get both before applying for your next job.
Fine-Tune Interview Techniques
Interviewing techniques for older workers are almost identical to those for younger workers. However, older workers must often be reminded of these rules. Hiring managers want someone who is ambitious and excited about the opportunity, so you must express this in an interview. Don’t make statements that indicate you want to find a job to settle into. This tells hiring managers that you just want a place to sit until retirement kicks in. Instead, focus on the things that you want to learn or be a part of. Older workers can greatly benefit from mock interviews where they get feedback from professionals on how they come across to hiring managers.
One drawback that many older workers face is that they are not up to speed on technology. In fact, some are resistant to that technology. For example: LinkedIn is the premier professional networking site for both the employed and unemployed. However, many older workers still aren’t fully embracing it because they see it a social media site for youngsters. By filling out your profile in a professional manner, you will stand out above other candidates who haven’t bothered to take this important step in managing their careers. If you don’t feel comfortable diving into the online world, hire a professional to write your profile for you.
Whether you live in Michigan or around the country, the employment experts at Vertical Media Solutions can guide you toward a successful career move. Our certified resume writing and interview preparation services are designed to emphasize your professionalism. Learn how we can help today: 616-631-4300.