Are you being told you’re “overqualified?” Focus your résumé on exactly what the employer needs.
By #1 Best-Selling Author Scott Vedder
“I keep hearing I’m overqualified for jobs. What can I do?” The best way to overcome a perception that you’re “overqualified” is to focus your résumé and your interview on explaining precisely why you’re qualified for that particular job.
Your résumé should cite examples from your experience which showcase the results you’ve achieved. Be sure to include only the experience and skills which are directly related to the desired and required qualifications listed in the job posting. Don’t list lots of unrelated accomplishments, achievements and experience. By focusing your résumé only on the skills and experience called for in the posting, you’ll help an employer understand exactly what makes you a great candidate for the job. The employer will not be distracted by all the things you “could” do. Instead they’ll be pleased to see that you’ve got skills which are perfectly suited for their open position. When you connect your experience directly to the job posting, your résumé will speak for itself.
Be sure you use specific examples to quantify what makes you a great candidate for the job. I like to say that your résumé should be full of !@#$%, the Signs of a Great Résumé:
! - Any part of your experience that was "amazing!"
@ - Defining points, places, dates and things in your experience
# - Numbers that quantify and prove your past successes
$ - The dollar value of your contributions
% - Figures that easily show growth and results
A customized cover letter is also a great opportunity to explain why you’re a great fit for a particular job. You can address your level of qualifications in a cover letter by tactfully explaining why you want to work for the company, what you bring to the table and how your experience will enable your long-term success in the position for which you’re applying. When you customize your cover letter to the job posting and you write a résumé that’s full of !@#$%, your résumé will speak for itself and you’ll earn the interview you deserve.
So, why don’t employers higher the people who seem overqualified? Recruiters like me typically don’t want to hire candidates who will “take anything” just to get a foot in the door. Employers may be worried that candidates who possess significantly greater qualifications than are needed in a role will quickly leave a position if something better comes along. Both turnover (people leaving a company) and churnover (movement within a company from one position to another) can result in increased costs for employers. When employees leave, a company has to pay to train a replacement and the on-boarding of a new hire almost always creates a loss in productivity. Candidates who are perceived as overqualified can be considered a “flight risk” and as such might not be the best fit for a role.
When you explain to a recruiter exactly why you’re qualified for the open role and you clarify that you want that job for the right reasons, it will be easy to understand why you’re a great match. It’s ok to have aspirations for advancement, but you should only apply for jobs you really want and which you can imagine yourself performing for some time.
Scott Vedder is a Fortune 100 recruiter and the author of the #1 best-selling résumé book, Signs of a Great Résumé. He has taught thousands of students and job seekers in résumé workshops at high schools, colleges, universities and non-profit organizations across the country. Scott’s book has been endorsed as “Recommended Reading” by groups including the Central Florida Employment Council and recognized by the Society for Human Resource Management. Scott has been featured as a career expert in nationally-syndicated newspaper columns and on international blogs and he’s been interviewed live on dozens of radio programs and television news. For free résumé and interview tips, visit http://scottvedder.com/freestuff.html
You’ve submitted hundreds of applications, filled out countless online “profiles,” read through thousands of job postings and networked with your friends and family. And now, you’re patiently waiting for a company to call you back to start the interview process.
So now what? Are you prepared for the phone call? You only have one chance to “Wow” the recruiter when they call you. In order to be prepared for this call, there are five common questions you must be prepared for. No matter what type of position you are interviewing for, there are questions that every job seeker should be prepared to answer on the very first call.
In The Recruiting Snitch, I provide top secret information on how you can figure out those questions that will be asked in a job interview and the correct format on how to answer each question.
Here are my top five favorite first round interview questions that every job seeker should be prepared for:
1. Why are you interested in working here?
When you apply to a position you are not only showing interest in the role but you are also showing interest in wanting to work for that specific company. So you should research each company as well as their competitors.
2. Why did you leave your most previous position? Or, if you are currently employed, “Why are you looking to leave your current position?
If you are currently unemployed the recruiter will want to know why you left your most recent job and what you have been doing with your time while unemployed. They are mostly interested to know if you were terminated. They also want to see if you quit. If you are currently employed, they will want to know why you are looking for something else. They want to see what your motives are. I address acceptable and unaccepted reasons to leave a job in The Recruiting Snitch.
3. Why do you believe you are a fit for this role?
This question is your time to shine. This is also your time to show the recruiter that you feel you are the best candidate for the job. I also ask this question because I want to know that you remember the position you applied to and you feel you have met all of the qualifications and address to me all of those skills. In The Recruiting Snitch, I explain in greater detail the science of a job description and how candidates need to only apply to roles where they meet the qualifications for the role. After reading The Recruiting Snitch, you will better understand how to answer this question.
4. Walk me through your resume.
I’m aware this is not a question, it’s a request. The recruiter will ask you this because they want to see how you can articulate your work history to them. They want to see what details you provide and what you chose to leave out. The recruiter is looking for a brief description of what you did at each company, what your title was at the time, how long you were there, and why you left. I also like to hear how you got the job in the first place. In The Recruiting Snitch, I will walk you through how to answer this question.
5. What are your short term and long term goals?
I love this question because it receives some of the most interesting responses. Here’s the secret, your career goal needs to align directly with the position you are applying for. I was interviewing someone for a Bank Customer Service Representative and I had an applicant tell me they wanted to be a Nurse. So this is telling me that if I were to hire her she would quit as soon as she started schooling to become a Nurse or that her mind would be on wanting to be a Nurse. I would rather hire someone whose goal was to move up within my company or someone who wanted a career in banking or a related industry. This is why it’s important to apply for positions where you see yourself growing. In The Recruiting Snitch I discuss the importance on selecting a career that you are passionate about. By doing this, you won’t have to be dishonest when a recruiter asks you this question.
As you can see, there are common interview questions you should know how to answer when a recruiter or company gives you a call. These questions are relevant for all types of positions and will get you prepared for the first round. To sum up, you should be prepared to answer why you are interested in working at the specific company, why you left your most recent job or looking to leave, and why you feel you are a fit for the role you applied to. Lastly, you should be able to “walk” a recruiter through your resume and identify your short and long term professional goals.
To learn more about phone interviews, onsite interviewing tips and more, order The Recruiting Snitch at www.recruitingsnitch.com
Check back regularly for more insider knowledge on how to land the perfect job.
Written by one of Central Florida Employment Council's Board Member GUEST BLOGGERS:
Alysse Metzler, Author of The Recruiting Snitch
The Evolving Workplace
Written By: Samantha Panitch | Dec 14, 2018 | PeopleReady Connections
The workplace continues to evolve and with that comes change that employees should be ready for. It can be difficult to keep up with the changes in work and understanding what they mean for you. Let’s look into five trends that we anticipate for the New Year. How will you take advantage of them [...]
*Above article snap shot and image is provided by a partnering employer PeopleReady
Let’s all face it; social media has taken over our lives. We are connected at all times to a phone, computer, I-pad, or some sort of digital device. We no longer look up to see what’s going on around us since our noses are worried about how many people “liked” our photo or commented on our status update. No one picks up the phone any more to call friends and family, they assume you are doing great because your Facebook photos look like you are enjoying life and you seem happy.
I recently posted on my Facebook telling my friends to stop “liking” my pictures and to pick up the phone to call me. Some people got offended and others “liked” it, ugh! This was extremely frustrating.
If you are currently looking for employment there are 3 things to think about when it comes to your digital and social media second lives:
1. Hand written thank-you letters, still appropriate- Even though it’s so easy to quickly type of a generic email thanking the person who interviewed you, but it’s very impersonal. I love receiving hand written thank-you notes.
It’s so easy, bring a thank you card, already filled out, to your interview and drop it off at the front desk when you leave. You will save on postage and it will be delivered that same date.
It’s nice when I’m having a long day to receive a call from our receptionist saying I have a letter at her desk. While it may seem ancient to you, it does still mean a lot to us recruiters.
2. Pick up the phone and call me-Most of our business is conducted via email; however some things are appropriate to actually speak about.
If you have a list of questions for your recruiter or simply want to follow up, I suggest picking up the phone and calling. You will be able to learn more about the status of the role and you will be able to communicate better than just sending an email.
With this said, I don’t suggest calling more than 1 time a week. If you don’t hear from your recruiter then go ahead and shoot her an email.
Finally, ALWAYS leave a voicemail. When I received missed calls without a voicemail I think to myself, “Well, it must not have been important enough to leave a voicemail.”
3. Stop wasting your time on social media-if you’re unemployed, it may be easy to sit on your social media throughout your day while you look for a job. I write about how to manage your time looking for a job as your full time job in “The Recruiting Snitch”.
For this blog purpose I will highlight that you need to get up, get off your computer, get dressed, and go meet people face-to-face. Get off your computer and interact with human beings in your area. I highly suggest visiting www.meetup.com to see what groups and events are occurring in your area and make it a priority to attend 1 “meetup” event per week.
Social media is great but use it to connect with people and then meet up with them face-to-face. You will receive so much more opportunities by doing this each week.
In summary, social media and our digital lives are a great thing to have, however when it comes to finding employment, don’t let it control you. By writing hand written notes it will set you above the competition. Through phone conversations with your recruiter you will learn more about the role and have a better working relationship. Finally, by getting out of your house and meeting with people face-to-face you will receive more opportunities than sitting behind a computer all day.
These are all valuable thoughts to keep in mind. I discuss these topics and much more in “The Recruiting Snitch”, order your copy today! www.recruitingsnitch.com
Written by one of Central Florida Employment Council's Board Member GUEST BLOGGERS:
Alysse Metzler, Author of The Recruiting Snitch
Why You Should Ask for a Raise Before Looking for a New Job
By Roger Lear*
Ready to be scared? In your lifetime you will spend 1/3 of your life at work. In other words, you will spend 90,000 hours working. That’s a lot of 40-hour work weeks. It is also the reason that you should maximize your career path and income. While 90,000 hours sounds like a lot of time, if you stay at your current company for five years (10,400 hours) and only see 2-3 percent increases in your salary, you may be leaving a lot of money on the table by not making a job change. If you make a job change, often you will recognize at least a 10 percent increase in your base compensation. If you make $40,000 and the new company offers you $44,000, that is $20,000 more over the next five years.
Since the recession, employees have been scared to leave their jobs for the unknown stability at other companies. Nationally, while unemployment is at the lowest level in 25 years, wage increases have been unnoticeable (2.6%) over the last few years.
“As an employee, you have more leverage in your career today than you have had in the last ten years!”
Even more interesting is the fact that more than 3.4 million people quit their jobs in April 2018 (BLS statistic) which is the most substantial amount since 2001. Quitting jobs is good for the economy since it means there is a confidence level allowing workers to leave a good position to get an even better one without worrying about being the “low man on the totem pole” or last in, first out if the economy suddenly shifts. This is also important because it means a tight labor market and wages have to increase. Employers can no longer ignore wage growth unless they want to lose great employees.
As an employee, you have more leverage in your career today than you have had in the last 10 years! It is how you use this new power that can mean thousands of dollars to you in pay and benefits in the future. Even though people are quitting jobs in record numbers to take perceived better jobs (the greener grass), I would like to suggest before you go out and quit, try this strategy.
If you have a good job but feel underpaid, you have options. You can go work at your competitor tomorrow for at least a ten percent increase in your salary or ask your current employer for a raise first. Ask for this raise before even filling out an application or going on an interview. Why? Because if you like your job, you have the power and this will allow you to understand how your company is addressing this tight labor market and more importantly your value to the company.
Consider these points:
1.If you ask for a raise and they don’t give you one (for any reason), it may be time to change jobs to a company that will.
2.If you accept a job at another company, when you put in your two-week notice, they will not be able to counter offer you. You should never take a counter offer in the first place, but by asking for a raise before you start looking will always put you in the driver’s seat. Accepting a counteroffer (a post raise) and blindsiding an employer will always have them questioning your loyalty. Ask for a raise first before interviewing.
3.Other companies that offer massive increases in salaries may have some skeletons in the closets. Bad bosses, long hours, inadequate technology, reduced benefits and the list goes on. If you like your current job, ask for a raise first.
4.If you ask for a raise, you may not only get money, but many people find out what kind of plans your current company has in mind for you.
90,000 hours. One-third of your lifetime. You have some leverage to make sure you can maximize all this time for the first time in years. Your current employer will let you know if you are in their plans.
*Guest Bloger: Roger Lear, President of Orlando Jobs
Totally Loving What You Do
I was scrolling through TV channels last night and came across a documentary with a title that I had to watch. It was called “Bipolar Rock N Roller” and is the story of Mauro Rapollo, who is an announcer for the WWE (wrestling).
The show was highlighting his career and struggles with being diagnosed with bipolar affective disorder, which showed how real his struggles have been in people not understanding him, or his actions, when he was up or down.
But there were two things that stood out for me and made his story compelling:
One: his love and passion for his work. He related how it was his dream to be an announcer but had always been told he was nothing and would never be anything. He was bullied by classmates when younger, and then adults once he started aging. But he never lost that passion and fought through to get to the status he has today. When he said “I absolutely love what I do,” you can feel that love, which is something all who are working should emulate and there is a lesson here.
Two: his quirkiness and, sometimes bizarre behavior, led to adulation from pro wrestling fans and led to his brand. Part of the segment was showing testimonials from fans, who stated that he was ‘the best announcer ever’ and that they loved his passion for the job, which led them to love wrestling more. It was so heartfelt to hear how lovingly people spoke of him, and not just fans but producers, as well. They said he was ‘the best’ at what he did. And there is a lesson her.
The lessons from this are to find your passion, and go after it; once you do, recognition of your expertise will be known and others will seek you out. Working off your passions will give you inner happiness and confidence as you work on your strengths and self-motivation. You will produce more results, which then will have people wanting to be around you, to hire you, and look at you as the go-to person. All of this leads to more opportunities, if you choose to take advantage of them.
I can tell you that probably my biggest passion is dance, which I’ve been doing from a small age. I used to compete, have been in a professional dance company and did a short stint at Disney. Lately, however, I’ve been into line dancing and go out at least twice a week. While I go for the joy I feel when I’m dancing, I have found that I have inspired many to also dance and it’s led to paid gigs in teaching others who really want to learn (tonight I’m teaching a couple for their wedding). I share this as it goes to the deeper level of passion which = influence and inspiration.
Think of people you follow, be that a movie star, singer, pro player, or other icon and why you do; it’s because you have been influenced by their passion and the results of them using their gift (s). Following your passion can have some risk to it, as others may block you or tell you that you can’t do whatever that is, which is what Mauro Rapollo heard throughout his life. But – he proved them wrong and you can, too.
To paraphrase what Rapollo said, the ‘struggle is real but worth it.’ Take your cue from him and go after your passion; it may not be in a large scale as he did but, if it’s in your business or your job, you will have more self-satisfaction and higher performance. Your days will be more enjoyable; in fact, you may eagerly look forward to them. Who wouldn’t love getting up every day with a smile on your face?
It was heartening to see that Mr. Rapollo has now expanded another passion of raising awareness of mental illness through motivational speaking, showing that life challenges don’t have to define you or keep you down, and that you can have a great life. It’s all what you make it. So, I’m taking my cue from Mr. Rapollo – you?
If you’re struggling with finding your passion, or ways to use them, then let’s talk. You don’t have to struggle any longer: https://cyscoaching.com
By Guest Blogger: Barbara Seifert, Ph. D., CPC
With the closing of Toy R Us, along with others who are shutting down low-performing stores to stay afloat (Winn Dixie, Footlocker, Best Buy, Sear, Gap, to name a few), it raises the flag of the number of those who will now join the ranks of the unemployed. While some will be fettered to other locations, the majority will not. Many of these are already under-employed to add insult to injury.
Considering the tragedy of these closings – thank you technology – the question to you is: Will you know what to do if your company closed? For those of you who said ‘Yes’ – major kudos to you!
For those of you who said ‘No,’ all hope is not lost. There is time to begin to make plans for what you would do if this were to happen to you. In all likelihood, it will at some point in your life. I have been the ‘victim’ of this, and not just once. I worked for a hospital, who underwent 4 changes, and another healthcare facility that was closing. I was the last person ‘alive,’ who had to close the whole operations, when the company folded.
So I know the devastation that can occur, especially if you are the sole breadwinner (which I was). There will be a roller coaster of emotions you will go through but then it becomes about getting yourself back out there and finding ways to earn money and get your life back on track.
This week will be focused on creating your Plan B and steps you can take to be in the pile of those who keep their jobs, that is if the company doesn’t fold. Location will play a part; the Hard Rock, here in Orlando is moving their headquarters down South – they offered their employees the opportunity to move. However, the majority said no so, if they were not offered another job, they’re out.
I think the first step is to recognize that it will be a blow, no matter the circumstance. How you deal with this depends on your outlook and attitude, which can either be a benefit or a hindrance in moving to your next steps. Then it will be time for career exploration (will you stay in this line of work or not), conducting a job search, dusting up the resume and interview skills, and focusing on how you will be successful in the new position. Start today to identify your network and connections.
These are what is involved in creating your plan, which should start NOW. Don’t wait until you lose a job to begin working on each of these. You don’t want to be hit with surprises. Having a plan will help you to feel ‘safer’ and more assured for any issues that may arise and you will be ahead of the pack. You can sleep better and put more effort into your current job (hint: be on the ‘stay’ pile).
Today is for idea creation on each of the areas mentioned earlier. Be solution-focused, not problem-focused. Take control of your career now. While not all is in your control, you can still take charge of what happens in your career. Don’t delay, start today!
If you’d like to learn more on managing your career and how to get the most out of yourself, and your people, we’re here to serve. We have our Fableader program where we will:
- Look at your goals, challenges you are facing, and opportunities you might be missing.
- Uncover any hidden problems that may be sabotaging your desired results
- Create an action plan and implement it together so that you finally get the results you have been looking for but were unable to find.
- Address challenges that come up along the way, leaving you feeling renewed, re-energized, and inspired to take action and get faster results
What to Leave Out of Your Resume
by Catherine Jewell, author of “New Résumé, New Career”
Once upon a time in the ’70s, I saw a résumé with a full-length photo. It was for a vibrant, 20-something account executive in advertising. I envied her the chutzpah to include her photo. It made the résumé come alive. You could see her eagerness and professional demeanor.
That was then. So much has changed. Employers want to avoid any chance of discrimination about age, gender, sexual orientation, religion, marital and parental status, and ethnicity. The less you say on the résumé, the more likely you make the cut. Each word, phrase and sentence needs to be carefully selected to prove that you are the right person for the job. Specifically, here are some things to take off your résumé:
1. Graduation dates
Include your degree, major (if it is relevant) and the institution. But take off the date. Age discrimination is a concern for many people looking for work. Avoid tempting reviewers to do the math to discover your age.
2. Irrelevant experience
If you are applying for sales and you have substantial experience in IT project management, downplay the irrelevant experience and create new achievement statements that support your experience with customers. Make your non-sales experience sound more like sales. Shorten job entries that don’t support your sales message.
3. Jobs in the dim, dark past
The rule of thumb is to include your last 10 to 15 years of experience. If you need to prove expertise you gained long ago, you might use the title “Other Relevant Experience” and describe your achievements, without the dates of employment. Baby boomers should be careful not to include 30 years of experience. Why give hiring managers a clue you are over 50 until they meet you in person?
4. Personal section
Résumés of the past often included personal information such as marital status, family members and even church membership. All of that information is illegal to collect, so don’t include it. Also eliminate references to hobbies, clubs and political views. A “Community Work” section can show your leadership skills, but stick with noncontroversial organizations such as Rotary, Lions, the Chamber of Commerce and recognized nonprofits.
5. Gaps in history
Eliminate gaps in your work history by filling in with short, truthful statements. “Homemaker sabbatical” will explain a five-year work hiatus and allow the interviewer to focus on your history. You can also fill gaps with part-time jobs, direct sales positions or consulting projects.
These may not be on your résumé, but once a potential employer has your full name they might as well be. Polish all social networking profiles and remove any unprofessional or embarrassing photos. Ask your friends to clean up social networking profiles for you, too. If you are gray or balding, you might consider removing your photo during your job search.
Your résumé is designed to present the professional you. Write it with a job description in mind, avoiding any details that might detract from your single-minded pursuit of that job.
Why Reading Your Resume and Contacting You for a Job is Driving Me Crazy
By Roger Lear, President, OrlandoJobs.com
I just hired four new people over the last month. This is great news. The bad news is over five hundred people applied to these positions and only four got hired. Out of 523 resumes; we phone screened 44, interviewed 23, and hired 4.
After reviewing all 523 resumes, I am able to tell you why job seekers didn’t get to the interview stage (which really is the main goal of the resume after all). The majority of the resumes were “unqualified” because I was unable to decipher what kind of skill sets the job seeker has that are relevant to the job I am hiring for. Sounds like that should be simple; but it is not. If I have to “decipher” anything on a resume, I can just move to the next one since I have plenty of inventory. What is sad is that I know there are some good candidates in this batch who were one resume writer away from getting an interview. If I’m thinking that, so are most employers and it is the main reason so many struggle in their job search.
“Your resume and how you respond to an interested employer has to be spot on if you want a great job. Unfortunately, out of over 500 resumes, only a handful got the memo. Hopefully we can help.”
Your resume is your golden ticket to the interview. Here is a list of resume and communication errors from this group of 523 resumes that drives me crazy:
- Different FONT styles and sizes in resume. If you start with Calibri (11), stick with Calibri (11) throughout the entire resume.
- Include your address in the header of your resume. If you don’t want the job, don’t put your address. Employers want to know where you live.
- Do not highlight your resume key points in color. It looks horrible.
- Next to phone number, no need to add the word “cell phone”. Everyone has a cell phone today.
- Don’t put references on the resume. Spend more time on making sure your skills match the job you are applying to.
- If attaching a resume document (.pdf or .docx) to an online application, name your resume file using your first and last name. Your resume document file name (SAVE AS) should be “John Smith Accounting Resume 2017”. Your resume file name is very important and should contain your name and a main skill set keyword. Also looks professional.
- Your cover letter sucks. 62 of the 523 resumes had cover letters that mentioned some other employer’s job, not mine. This just goes to show that many of you struggle with your job search because you apply to so many jobs, you forget to change your cover letter. You will be automatically disqualified if you do this.
- Voice mail. If you are in a job search, make sure you have a nice voice mail message. Also, make sure you check your voice mail and return calls promptly. I left so many messages for people and didn’t get many calls in return. I know it’s not cool to listen to voice mails (or return them), but for the better jobs out there internal recruiters leave messages all the time.
- Answering your phone during a job search. If you get a call and don’t recognize the number, please answer it professionally during a job search. Believe it or not, this is your FIRST impression with a possible employer. While most of my calls ended up in voicemail, those who did answer the phone did it in a way that made me feel like a bill collector. Once they established I was an employer, the tone of the phone call changed to normal. Start with normal in a job search.
- Know what jobs you applied for. If I hear “what company are you with again...” by another job seeker, I am going to lose my mind. When an employer calls, you should be expecting their call and know what position you applied to at their company.
- Don’t add your picture to the resume just yet. HR people still don’t like this.
Hope this all makes sense. This is real information and so many of you are making a few of these errors during your job search. For the best jobs, you can’t afford to do this. Get a professional resume writer!
Guest Blogger: Roger Lear, President, Orlando Jobs
View more local jobs online at https://www.orlandojobs.com
Break Time: Don't feel guilty about taking a break from your job search!
It has been said that looking for work is a full time job in itself. And many of us have found that to be true. In fact, we could work overtime looking for our next opportunity! Many of us do.
The job search becomes all encompassing, including the worry and stress partnered with such an important quest. But just like when we work overtime in employment, we get burned out and less effective when we overdo the job search. We start getting lazy and rushed in our applications. And we are prone to depression because of the constant state of uncertainty and rejection. This scenario is not going to make us any more hire-able.
When we are working, we usually have set hours, pre-determined tasks, and goals to meet as productive employees. And we usually have no problem taking a well deserved coffee break, walk around the block, or even a day off!
Why not take these good habits and apply them to the job search? Take the time to organize your searching methods and plan your days ahead with a calendar. For instance: list out the websites to check daily; make yourself goals to contact people in your network; and update your social media sites weekly to keep your network informed of your status. In keeping organized, you feel a sense of accomplishment as you search.
Then after your "work" is done, take a break. Go for a walk. Clean the silverware drawer. Meditate. Volunteer. Do something that is unrelated to your job search at least once a day, whether it be 20 minutes or 4 hours. Don't feel guilty about taking a break. It will keep your mind and your life balanced, better preparing you to start fresh the next day. And more importantly, start that next job with a healthy attitude!
Human Resources Consultant
Central Florida Employment Council
When did we become a society that values youth over experience? Just because someone has a few gray hairs, does that mean they are out of touch? Unfortunately, this is the growing mindset of much of today’s youth. Ageism is rampant in our society, especially in the working world. We cast off our elders as obsolete fools who cannot keep up with the times and advancing technologies. They are characterized as antiquated, unproductive citizens with nothing of worth to contribute. With the Baby Boomer Generation moving into their late fifties and early-to-mid-sixties, an increasingly large number of our population is feeling the effects of ageism.
Cutbacks and layoffs have become commonplace following the recession in 2009. Who are the first to go? Typically, the oldest members of the company. Senior workers are let go because they normally have the highest salaries and best benefits. In other words, the company saves the most money by getting rid of the most expensive employees regardless of their value. These workers are often forced into early retirement and are considered to be too old to work, but are, in reality, too young to retire. This leads to a buildup of massive debts where they are spending a good portion of their retirement while trying to survive unemployment. For businesses, these cutbacks are just a short-term fix for a long-term problem that create even more problems for the economy.
Ageism is most notably a factor when those laid-off begin searching for new employment. Most employers have a certain age in mind for the positions they have advertised. You can fall on either side of the spectrum, too young and inexperienced or too old and too expensive.
Your resume is often a dead giveaway of your age; all anyone has to do is look at your graduation date and they instantly have a rough estimate of your age. How do you get around this?
It’s simple. Scale back your resume. Start by removing dates; graduation dates are not essential. You can also limit your work experience to the last ten to fifteen years. Once you have garnered decades of experience, it is not pertinent to include jobs you had right out of college. If you are worried about this being seen as dishonest, you can even rename this section on your resume to state, “Recent Work Experience.” Let’s say that you have some very impressive experience that is relevant to the position you are applying for, but it falls outside the ten to fifteen year scope; generate another section on your resume for “Additional Experience,” again, without including dates.
Similarly, if computer skills are not listed on your resume, you’ll end up dating yourself. Consider enrolling in an online or night computer course to learn how to use such programs as PowerPoint, Excel, Word, and Outlook. Also, remember that with the prevalence of social media, privacy is a thing of the past and you will be “googled” by potential employers. Setup a LinkedIn profile reflecting your resume with a professional, modern looking picture. You want to show employers that you are up-to-date with today’s technology and not resistant of it.
With younger jobseekers fresh out of college, you may need to become more open to the idea of accepting lower wages than you once had to. Applicants with less experience will agree to lower wages so to compete, you may have to do the same. State on your resume that your pay requirements are “open.” Once you are offered the position, then it is time to negotiate.
Tweaking your resume should help to a least get you in the running for a face-to-face interview. Once you get your foot in the door, you’ll have the opportunity to sell yourself.
Remember that some, not all, hiring managers have narrow-minded opinions of older jobseekers. These include being set in their ways, difficult to train, less productive, frail, and technologically inept. So make a point to emphasize traits most valued in older workers, like vast experience, loyalty, excellent work ethic, reliability, exceptional decision making abilities, and self-confidence. In business, it is all about Return on Investment. You are the investment, so make sure the employer knows exactly what he/she will gain in hiring you.
As we have evolved to live longer, healthier, more productive lives, regrettably, our concept of age has not changed along with it. Until our minds catch up with our physiological state, we will never be able to overcome this bias. Instead, older jobseekers are forced to use creative tactics to overcome and find employment.
So, as bleak as it may seem out there in the job market, don’t give up just yet. Try out some of these tips and tricks—you might be surprised at the results.
CFEC Guest Blogger
Jessica Mattison is a freelance writer in Cary, NC. for JobFinderUSA.com
By Jessica Mattison