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.
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.
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.
Most of us wouldn’t buy a home or a car or even a new phone without some planning. Before a large purchase we’d check our credit report and research prices. Depending on the purchase, we might read reviews of realtors or retailers. We want to be prepared when we find the perfect whatever.
Yet, many people jump into a job search, a process that could change their life, with no preparation.
They see a few interesting job posts and decide it’s time for a change.
Often, they don’t have their resume or LinkedIn profile recruiter ready. They haven’t researched the salary range for the position they seek. They may not even have a clear understanding of what they want in a new position.
A job search requires as much preparation as any other big move. Here are 7 steps you need to take before you begin your job search.
Even if we don’t want the job, most of us want to get the offer. When you actually do want the job, getting a “pass” can be downright devastating. I’ve been there too.
Sometimes knowing the reason, you weren’t hired is easy. Maybe you didn’t have most of the “requirements” but you decided to apply anyway. Perhaps you didn’t click with the hiring manager. As soon as you left the interview your gut told you that you wouldn’t be moving forward.
Other times, you leave an interview feeling great and are stunned to receive a “we went another way” letter in the mail. You go over every interaction over and over trying to figure out what went wrong.
Job boards are not the holy grail. Yes, applying online should be part of your job search strategy. The operative word being “part.”
One of the biggest mistakes job seekers make is relying on online job postings to find a job.
It’s easy to fall into the trap of spending your day at the computer responding to job postings. It doesn’t take a lot of effort. You can do it at home wearing sweat pants and a t-shirt while watching TV.
At the end of the day, knowing you’ve applied to 30 jobs, gives you a sense of accomplishment. But, it’s a false sense of accomplishment.
The truth is, focusing on job boards isn’t the best use of your time.
It’s more effective to take a strategic, multipronged approach.
At the beginning of your job search make a list of 10 or so companies you’d like to work for. These are your Target Employers. Contact people in your network to see who can connect you with someone who works there. If the employee you connect with can get your resume in front of the hiring manager for your target position even better.
Set up Google alerts for each employer, that way you’ll be notified whenever they are in the news. Review the career section or job postings on their corporate websites, at least once a week.
As a former recruiter, I can say that almost every job I was trying to fill was listed on the company’s site. The only exceptions were “confidential” searches, generally when someone didn’t know they were being replaced.
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.”