I am a baby boomer and proud of it! My life experiences and high energy level can dispel any concern of my age or my ability to execute in a senior leadership position…however, how I communicate my story will be the deciding factor of whether I even get the opportunity at bat. Having left the corporate world a few years ago and started my own headhunting and placement firm, I find myself coaching my peers at the rate of about 5 per week on how to approach the job market. Most of us are not ready to hang up our productivity and lay back in a hammock…or we are not financially able to do so.
Here are some truths and tips if this applies to you…
1.Your resume and your LinkedIn profile are your “calling card” – EVERYONE participating in your job search will be using these as a guide to discovering who you are…make certain they are cleansed of anything that can distract the reader from relevant information about your fitness for a particular opportunity.
Remove all dates from your education – it is illegal for a potential employer to even ask your date of graduation these days, it is just not relevant!
Match your resume and LinkedIn profile – making certain all positions held are on both and that all titles match as well.
Relevant work history – is all you want to communicate. Remove anything beyond 15 years back, as it is just no longer relevant.
Relevant professional experience – is all anyone is interested in looking at to judge your suitability for a particular opportunity. Pull in accomplishments that speak directly to the description/requirement for a specific opportunity…and eliminate accomplishments that are not relevant and will be a distraction.
2.Cleanse your communications of any hint of your age – yes, there are tell-tale signs we invoke automatically that we need to eliminate from our writing and speaking.
Update your communications – by replacing the following words:
- seasoned replace with accomplished
- mature replace with practiced
- managed replace with lead/led
- management replace with leader/leadership
- teach/taught replace with mentored
- adaptable replace with flexible
- data processing replace with automation
A teeny sign of grammatical construction to avoid – is using two spaces after each period in a paragraph. I still do this, but am not looking for a new job! The modern method is one space.
Do not add “references upon request” – of course you will be happy to supply them if asked, that is a given.
Do not put any personal information on any communication – and this means anything…like, “my son…”, or “I have 3 children and a dog…”, or “excellent health”.
3.When invited to an in person interview, be conscious of preparation and execution. You want to communicate why hiring you is chocolate cake, so be certain you leave then wanting more.
Update your personal appearance – if you have been in the same work environment for many years, you may have gotten lazy about this one. In today’s workplace, most firms go with casual business attire. If you wear a suit as a man or woman, you will scream the 1980s!
For men, a pair of dress pants, sports jacket, starched shirt and tie is always appropriate. For women, dress pants or skirt and a separate top and sweater or jacket – not a matched suit – the days of presenting like a man are over; scarves can hide a multitude of sins and appear very professional – go light on the jewelry.
Speak the walk – when going through your background. Hit the most relevant information and accomplishments that clearly demonstrate your ability for the position they are speaking with you about – nothing else! Stick with 3 major accomplishments within the last 5-8 years, do not go back in history unless asked a question requiring you to do so. Even if they do not ask you the typical, “tell me about yourself…” phrase, have these 3 accomplishments ready and fit them into the conversation before you leave the interview.
Have 4 interesting questions to ask – to the interviewer that you are quite certain they can answer. Never put anyone interviewing you on the spot or make them feel uncomfortable while showing them your knowledge. Some examples of questions you might pose are:
- (To someone with the firm for a short time) – “I read you have been here only X months, how was your experience transitioning into this organization?”
- (To someone who has been with the firm for a long time) – “I read that you have been here for many years. What do you see are the success factors for people performing this role or similar roles?”
- ( To the hiring manager)-“If I were to be hired for this opportunity and we were to fast forward 3 months from the start date, what would you expect I would have accomplished?”
- (If this is a new position) – “What problem are you looking to solve or enhancement to add through hiring into this position?”
Be careful – not to trail into the mist when answering a question. Be succinct and if you need clarity, ask for it. Keep your answers short, and check in with your interviewer and ask if you have answered their question, or if they want additional information before overwhelming them with too much information, which is easy to do when you have a longer history to relay.
Do not talk in platitudes – instead, give examples of your accomplishments that would be relevant to the opportunity at hand, leave the buzzwords at the door. Demonstrating that you can bring years of experience to a problem while creating calm in the environment will go a long way.
Most importantly, have confidence in your accomplishments and bring this to the conversation with you. The old saying, “there is no substitute for experience” has never been more true than it is today! You just need to be clear and crisp in your communications and leave them wanting more.
For more information reach out to Ellen Shepard: Ellen.Shepard@trcollaborative.com or connect with her on LinkedIn! https://www.linkedin.com/company/the-resource-collaborative-inc-