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.
Over the years, I’ve talked to hundreds, maybe thousands, of people who are looking for a new job. They want growth opportunities or more money. Some of them hate their boss. The common thread is that they all want a change.
As with most things some are more successful than others. The successful ones are the ones who do the work. They don’t spend all day every day in front of the computer browsing job boards. (While that gives you a feeling of accomplishment, it’s not very effective.)
Successful job seekers develop a multipronged job search plan and work it every day.
Here is a basic job search plan that you can adapt to your needs. It’s broken down into job search preparation (PREP) and continuing activities (ONGOING). If you’re actively looking, as in you really want to find a job, follow A activities. If you’re passively looking, you’re open but not in any hurry, P is for you.
#1 TARGET EMPLOYERS
PREP – Create a list of 10 or so Target Employers, these are the companies where you would love to work for whatever reason. Set up Google alerts for each of them so you’ll know when they are in the news.
Monitor the career pages on their company sites. A = 2-3X a week. P = 1X a week.
Contact friends, family, colleagues, etc. to see who they might know who works for one of your target employers (or any employer who’s ad piques your interest). FYI, your alumni association may be able to help with this too. A = 2-3X hours a week. P= 1 hour a week.
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.
There’s no doubt that looking for a job during a pandemic is exceptionally challenging. Right now, millions are furloughed, underemployed or out of work. The United States unemployment rate was 6.7% (with 10 million+ unemployed) in November 2020, according to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics latest news release. While this number has declined over the last six months, it’s not close to the 3.5% level reported in February 2020.
That said, looking for a job in a booming economy isn’t easy either. When people feel confident in finding another job, they often decide to begin exploring opportunities. As they move from being passive job seekers (those who need to be enticed to move) to active job seekers, competition for plum positions grows.
The truth is, standing out from your competition is essential in any job market. It’s particularly important when you’re pursuing executive roles. One of the most effective ways to do that is by establishing yourself as a thought leader. Someone that people can recognize as an authority in their industry.
While you can’t become a thought leader overnight, you can begin working toward that today by providing value to your colleagues and community.
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.
2020 has been extremely challenging. Most of us have had our professional, and personal lives turned upside down. Many people found looking for a new job frustrating, exhausting, and disheartening.
Finally, 2020 has been kicked to the curb. The holidays are behind us, and a brand-new year, full of possibilities, stretches before us.
If your goal is to get a new job in 2021, it’s time to get going. Don’t wait for tomorrow. Start today.
Get Your Career Marketing Tools Ready
#1 Make sure your resume is recruiter and employer ready. Your resume is often how hiring managers meet you. A boring list of duties and responsibilities is unlikely to motivate anyone to contact you.
People in similar positions do similar things. The best way to differentiate yourself is by demonstrating your value. And the way to do that is by creating a results-driven resume in a modern, easy-to-scan format.
You’ve heard the saying “you never get a second chance to make a first impression.” That’s particularly true during your job search
Certainly, having the right skills, experience, and, in some cases, education is essential. However, recruiters and employers may not contact you for an interview if you don’t make a good first impression.
At least good enough to make them want to learn more.
Recruiters and employers meet you different ways. It might be when they receive your resume. It might be when they view your profile on LinkedIn. It might be when they see something on social media. Since you have no way of knowing, it’s important to cover all fronts.
If you’ve been actively recruited for your last several positions, having a boring, task-focused resume has probably worked for you. It may have been not much more than a formality.
When you’re the one approaching recruiters and employers, however, replacing your boring task-focused resume with a results driven marketing tool and developing a robust, optimized LinkedIn profile will make you more marketable.
Both of those take time, effort, and maybe even hiring a professional writer. That said, there are a few fairly simple, often quick, things you can do to make a better first impression.
Concerns about the Coronavirus are growing daily. It dominates the news and kitchen-table conversations. Here in Connecticut, events are being postponed or cancelled, some because of a State of Connecticut mandate.
If you’re looking for a new job or want to be prepared in case you need to, you’ll need to adjust your job search strategies.
Several months ago, I created a basic job search plan. I’ve adapted it here to be used during our current public health emergency.
The plan includes job search preparation (PREP) and continuing activities (ONGOING). If you’re actively looking, as in you really want to find a job, follow A activities. If you’re passively looking, you’re open but not in any hurry, P is for you.