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.
LinkedIn is your face to the business world. It’s often the place recruiters looking for candidates will meet you. It’s the place recruiters and employers who are impressed with your resume will go to learn more about you. While LinkedIn is considered a business platform, it’s important to remember that it’s also a social network. Like many things, you’ll get as much out of LinkedIn as you put into it.
Like most of my colleagues, I tell my clients that having a photo on their LinkedIn profile is essential. For one thing, it improves your visibility. Profiles with profile pictures can get up to 21 times more views than profiles without them, according to LinkedIn.
A strong, engaging profile photo can help you get a job. It’s the first thing recruiters see when searching LinkedIn for potential candidates. It’s the first thing people look at when they click on your profile. If you don’t have a photo, many people will wonder why.
Your LinkedIn profile represents you on the business world stage. So, it’s important to post a headshot with a professional yet approachable look. While “professional” varies by industry, smiles are universal.
While I know all this and preach it to my friends and clients, I was surprised at the impact things like a photo’s background had on people’s opinions. Although, I’m not big on sharing photos of me, I thought sharing this example was worth it.
A few years ago, barely a week when by without news of someone getting fired because of something they posted on social media. As awareness grew people have become more careful.
That’s a good thing.
Particularly if you’re looking for a new job.
Today, 70% of employers research candidates on social networking sites and 47% say that they’re unlikely to contact a candidate for an interview if they can’t find them online, according to a 2018 Career Builder survey.
What are they looking for?
58% —Information that supports the candidate’s qualifications for the job
50%—If the candidate has a professional online persona
34%—What other people are posting about the candidate
22%—A reason not to hire the candidate
What turns employers off?
Most, if not all, career professionals will tell you to avoid being negative. Even if your boss is the devil incarnate, it’s not something you should share. Here are some numbers: 25% of survey respondents said a primary reason they didn’t hire a candidate was because they bad-mouthed their previous company or fellow employee.
Anyone who’s looking for a new job has been told they need to be on LinkedIn. That’s true.
It’s also true that you need to be LinkedIn even if you’re not looking. Whether you like it or not, your LinkedIn profile, or lack of one, is part of your personal brand.
Certainly, recruiters and hiring managers who receive your resume will review your LinkedIn profile. So will people that you meet at conferences, seminars, or networking events who want to learn more about you. Make sure what they find is your best self.
That includes having a head shot.
I know there are people who resist putting up a head shot because they’re afraid of discrimination. Yes, it’s out there. There are people who will think you’re too old or too young. Too ethnic or not ethnic enough. They may take an instant dislike to you because you remind them of a former boss or a neighbor they don’t like.
However, the benefits far outweigh the potential risks.
These are extraordinarily difficult times. Unemployment is climbing. People on furlough wonder if they’ll be returning to work. Shutdowns across the country make it challenging to look for a job.
Despite everything, this is not the time to stop looking for a new job. The job market has changed dramatically, but jobs are still out there. Employers are hiring. There are steps you can take to move your job search forward.
Here are 10 job search strategies that work. But reading this list isn’t enough. You need to act. You can’t do all of them today, but you can get started.
#1 Make a list of your target employers, companies where you would most like to work. Set up Google alerts to help you follow them in the news. Start contacting family, friends, former colleagues, etc. to see if they know anyone who works for one, or more, of your top employers.
If you are looking for a new job having a robust LinkedIn profile is essential. Full stop. Sadly, most don’t use LinkedIn to their best advantage.
It’s not just the barely completed “skeleton” profiles still displaying LinkedIn’s generic blue background that make career professionals cringe. It’s the misguided things people do deliberately.
#1 Quotes in the Headline
A lot of people seem to think that having an inspirational quote as their headline will somehow help them. It won’t for a few reasons. First, recruiters search LinkedIn based on jobs, skills, etc. and it’s unlikely inspirational quotes include “skill” words like “performance improvement “ or “business development.”
Second, recruiters want to know if you’re qualified for the job they are trying to fill. If you do come up in a recruiter’s search but your headline doesn’t indicate your qualifications, they may go on to the next profile in their search.
If you feel a quote expresses your philosophy, management style, etc. by all means use it in the Summary section.
Whether you’re actively looking for a new job or just want to keep your options open, LinkedIn has a lot to offer. Of course, you need to have a robust LinkedIn profile. Today, LinkedIn is like Google for people, without an optimized profile it’s unlikely you’ll be seen in a recruiter’s search.
But creating a compelling LinkedIn profile is only the beginning. Over the last few years, LinkedIn has added several functions that can help you move forward in your job search.
Here are 4 ways to up your chances of finding a job through LinkedIn.
Tell Recruiters Your Looking
If you’re actively looking or even open to new opportunities, LinkedIn lets you tell recruiters you’re looking for free. It only takes a few minutes to go into your Settings & Privacy and set up your Job Seeking Preferences.
Once you click on Manage Job Alerts, LinkedIn allows you to edit your Career Interests. In Career Interests, you’ll have the opportunity to select Job titles you’re considering, types of jobs you’re open to, the size of the company you’d like to work for, and more. LinkedIn notes that while they can’t guarantee your employer won’t find out, they “take steps to keep Recruiter users who work at your company, as well as related companies, from seeing the career interests that you share.”
If you’ve been looking for a new job for more than 5 minutes, you’ve heard that you need to target employers. Most often, the advice is to develop a list of target employers, i.e. the employers you would most like to work for. Then, find a way to network your way in.
This strategy is recommended for a few reasons.
First, the best way to hear about jobs is by regularly checking the career section of your target’s website and/or knowing someone who works there. As a former recruiter, I can say that the only reason that businesses don’t post open positions is when the person doesn’t know they are being replaced.
Second, a resume given directly to someone at a company is more effective than responding to an ad on a job board. This can also be incredibly helpful if done after you respond to an online ad.
FYI, if a recruiter contacts you about an open position where you have a connection be sure to mention it. They may ask you to reach out to your connection to help grease the wheels.