Resume writers are often asked about the prevalence of age discrimination. As I’ve mentioned in earlier posts, serious concerns begin around age 55, but some people, particularly my female friends, tell me they begin to feel it in their mid-forties.
Yes, age discrimination is out there. But there are many other reasons why candidates don’t get hired.
The interviewer may think you are too young or too forward-thinking or too laid back. She may dislike you because you remind her of a former boss or spouse she doesn’t like.
We all have conscious and unconscious biases.
You can’t control other people’s bias, but you can eliminate things that make you look old and/or dated. Here are 5 things to change today.
#1 Have a Modern Email
Using an @aol or @yahoo email address makes you look like you’re stuck in 1995. Keep those addresses for family and friends but choose something more current like @gmail for your job search. Never use your company’s email to contact recruiters, resume writers, career coaches, etc.
Many employers monitor employee email accounts, and they have the legal right to do so.
Include your email address in LinkedIn About section to make it easy for recruiters and employers to contact you. If your job search is confidential you can include a statement like “always interested in connecting with like-minded people” or “always happy to connect with clients and colleagues” as well.
If you’re unemployed, you can include a pitch for hiring you.
You may get away with updating the resume you’ve had since college or hastily putting together a resume on your own early in your career. However, once you reach the executive level or are targeting senior executive roles, you need a results-driven executive resume that tells a powerful career story.
The Career Ladder Myth
Most people think of climbing a career ladder. But the career ladder is a myth. It’s a career pyramid. Competition isn’t as tough for early careerists or even mid-level managers because there are a lot of jobs at those levels. As you move into Director, VP, SVP, and the C-Suite roles, however, there are not as many jobs.
People like to hire, work with, work for, etc. people they know and like. The best way to have a wide circle of people who can recommend or refer you for whatever is to have a wide circle of people who know, like, and understand the value you bring.
Networking on business and social platforms like LinkedIn and, more recently, Clubhouse is a wonderful way to expand your circle. But as in-person networking resumes, it’s time to start preparing for that as well.
For many, in-person networking events means stepping out of our comfort zone. Stepping into a room full of strangers can be a little scary. If we’re fine with that, we may not be quite sure what to do when we get there.
While reading this may not make you eager to sign up for an association dinner, mastering the following techniques can help you become more comfortable and, as a result, become a better connector.
A lot of people are unhappy at work. It might be a micromanaging boss or crazy coworkers. They know they want to leave, and they want to leave now. The problem is they don’t have a clue as to what they want to do next.
If they do want to stay in a similar position, there’s the question of what type of company? Would a smaller company be better than a large corporation? Or vice versa?
The trick to getting unstuck is to change your approach. Instead of trying to figure out what you do want, decide what it is you don’t want. Begin by listing all the jobs you’ve held.
Next, consider every aspect of each position. Write down everything that you didn’t enjoy, things that made you unhappy. Pretty soon you will see some patterns, patterns that will help you define your new job.
A tight job market means tougher competition. People who hadn’t considered moving a couple of years ago are passively looking. Those casually looking have transitioned from passive to active job seekers.
Today, standing out from your competition is essential.
If you’re a senior executive or pursing those roles, one of the best strategies is to have others see you as an authority in your industry, a thought leader.
One way to be recognized as a thought leader is to share knowledge with your community.
Changing careers can seem daunting. Even impossible. But, the truth is it can be done. Several of my friends and colleagues have done it successfully. I’ve done it too.
When you’re thinking about a career change, understand that every position has two parts: the job (responsibilities, duties performed, skills needed) and the field (the industry where the work is done).
For example, a marketing VP at an Internet start-up has strong communication skills, is a strategic thinker, and has experience creating marketing campaigns. She also understands the Internet industry.
By the same token, a director of operations in a pharmaceutical company can improve processes, manage budgets, and oversee a staff. He also has knowledge of the healthcare industry. He has both operations experience and healthcare expertise.
Choosing a career is a big decision. A decision that should involve more than thumbing through a book or newspaper and picking a job that sounds kind of interesting.
While your next job will probably not be your last job, you will be spending many hours each week at the office. If you’re working full-time you will be spending more time with your co-workers than with your family.
If you’re short on time, or patience, use the following checklist to come up with some career guidelines. The answers to these questions should give you an idea of what you’re looking for. Just as important, they will let you know what you don’t want.