For older Baby Boomer and Greatest Generation job seekers, the job search process isn’t easy. That experience can work against more mature job seekers, especially when it comes to salary requirements. Experts at recruiting firm Harris Allied recommend that mature job seekers manage their expectations carefully.
“These job seekers need to be ready to compromise on their salary requirements as well as the industry they want to work in. And, they should consider both consulting arrangements and full-time employment,” said Kathy Harris, managing director of Harris Allied.
“In addition, job seekers with some 20 or 30 years’ experience bring a lot to the table in terms of workplace savvy and real-world expertise,” said Harris. “But they need to be able to tell that story in a compelling way. Having a two- or three-page resume is not enough. They need to develop a career narrative from beginning to end to tell their career story. I recommend these job seekers rewrite their resume from scratch rather than merely updating it. This way you can take a more holistic look at all the skills and expertise you bring to the table and tell the story in a more streamlined fashion,” Harris suggested.
Specifically, she said, resumes should not run more than three pages and should give more reading room to the most recent positions. “Make sure you give the reader a good picture of the trajectory of your career,” Harris said.
In addition to resume revisions, Harris also offered some tips for more mature job seekers:
- Expect to interview with someone that is younger, perhaps by 20, 30, or even 40 years. Be mindful not to patronize them and avoid saying things like “when I was your age…”
- Vim and vigor matters. Everybody knows those senior executives who practically bound into work every morning and demonstrate a high level of enthusiasm and energy for the day ahead. Embracing a career energetically will translate well with a prospective employer.
- Leave antiquated technologies off your resume. (WordPerfect, anyone?)
- Check the chip on your shoulder at the door. It’s time to leave the past there and forget how you were wronged in your last position. No one wants to work with a curmudgeon.
- Get interview coaching. Even though job seekers have been through the process dozens of times before, it’s a good idea to brush up on the basics and be reminded of what is expected when interviewing with a new company. Recruiters can offer advice on how to dress for the interview since the blue-suit mandate is no longer a requirement. Be reminded about such things as eye contact, firm handshakes and good questions to ask. It never hurts to refresh your interview style.
- Put your best foot forward no matter how junior the person interviewing you is. Some employers look to see how a prospective employee will act as part of a team comprised of peers of all ages.
- Remember to thank the interviewer – no one sends hand-written notes anymore. A quick spell-checked email will serve the purpose well. Be sure to reiterate how interested you are in the position.
“Perhaps most important is the need to network. Know how it works and be sure to get out there and meet with people once a week for drinks, dinner or coffee. The days when you reviewed the classifieds on Sunday mornings are long gone. LinkedIn is a great tool to connect with old – and make new – contacts. Today, finding a new job is about connecting with the right people that can help make an introduction for you,” Harris concluded.