How old are you? To what generation do you belong?
Based on the answers you give to those two questions, you probably are being treated a certain way in the workplace. Because of when you were born, your manager or co-workers may talk to you differently, react to you in specific ways or have preconceived notions about what you like and dislike.
For some, that may be OK. But for the majority? Kathy Lynch says they “hate it.”
Lynch, director of employer engagement at the Sloan Center on Aging and Work at Boston College, says that employers must understand that they have to look beyond an employee’s chronological age and the generational stereotypes that go with it or they can’t begin to really engage employees. If they can’t engage employees, productivity and innovation will suffer — and top talent will go elsewhere.
At the same time, Lynch says individuals also must understand that their age and generation may not truly define who they are, and they can become more “empowered” if they look at their lives in a different way.
For example, while baby boomers may be thought of as nearing retirement, the truth is that many in their 50s these days have begun new careers in new industries and may be more than 20 or more years from retiring — if they retire at all, Lynch says.
Lynch says that’s why her organization believes it makes more sense for individuals and companies to look at age and generations in the workplace in
Life stages Â» “This is where you are in life, such as being married or single, or having children,” she says.
Career status Â» “Are you defined by your relationship with your employer? Do you have a job or do you have your own identity?” she asks.
“We’ve found through our studies and workshops that depending on how people identified their stages, their experience in the workplace is different and what they’re looking for is different,” she says.
For example, Lynch says people who defined themselves as “early career” ranged in age from their late teens to mid-60s. But no matter the age, those in this career stage tended to say they were “less satisfied” with the meaning of their work. On the other hand, those who said they were “late career” ranged in age from their early 20s to their 80s and found “more meaning” in their work when at this stage, she says.
What employers can learn from these answers is that an employee deciding to leave a company may not have anything to do with his age or satisfaction with his work, but rather on where he identifies himself in his career. Lynch explains that a worker in his late 20s saying he is “late career” may be saying that he is ready to move on because he believes the employer has nothing left to offer.
While many experts caution that employers need to be projecting the retirement rates of older workers so that they can plan for future staffing needs, Lynch says it may make more sense to forget about specific ages and generations of workers, and instead focus on the “career plans” of workers. It doesn’t mean that age and generation should be completely dismissed because those things do impact people, Lynch says, but stereotypes can hamper getting the best from employees.
“Just because they’re 60 doesn’t mean they’re thinking about retirement,” she says. “They might be, but they might be thinking of a different job or a flexible work arrangement or staying and doing the exact same thing they are now. There are 50-year-olds looking for growth in their careers, and their employers need to be offering them training and opportunities.”
At the same time, Lynch says it’s not just employers who need to look at these age and engagement issues “through a different lens.”
“Many people in our workshops have these ‘ah ha!’ moments when we help them look at where they are in their career, no matter what their age,” she says. “We ask them to define their age in a more holistic way. It gives them a real sense of empowerment because they learn to ask themselves what’s most important to them right now, at this stage of their lives and career.”
By Anita Bruzzese can be reached c/o Gannett ContentOne, 7950 Jones Branch Drive, McLean, VA, 22107. Courtesy Salt Lake Tribune
Making a career change over 40 isn’t any easier than it is in your 20s or 30s. But it can be an enjoyable and exciting experience. Deciding what you want can take a bit of time and thought, especially if you have been used to doing things to suit other people. Now you have the chance to make career decisions based on your own experience.
If you have no idea what you want, you can start with what you don’t want and write what you would rather be doing instead.
Type of Work
The broad type of work you do can be defined by whether or not you want to work with people, animals, facts and figures or things, or with a combination of two or more of these, which is probably the case for most people.
Once you’ve chosen your preferred combination, you can start to narrow it down. So if you would like to work with people, what age group would you feel most comfortable with and in what capacity would you work with them?
If you would like to work with young children, there are many ways in which you could do so. You could be a child minder for parents who are at work, or you could work with children in hospital, as a nurse, doctor, play therapist or tutor. Or you could become a teacher or work with children in summer camps or after school activities.
If you want to work with things as well, you might be running computer classes for children or teaching them how to make something or fix something or how to play a sport. If you like facts and figures, you could do research into some aspect of childhood, perhaps interviewing children for their views on certain issues.
Look carefully at the different combinations of work you could consider and then do some additional research on the internet. You should be able to find plenty of jobs you have never even thought of.
What type of work schedule do you want? Some people prefer regular hours such as nine to five and others like more flexibility.
You might also want to work at several seasonal jobs, which will give you more variety in what you do.
Or you might like to work part time hours, or one week on, one week off.
Skills and Activities
You should also think carefully about the skills and activities which you want to be the main focus of your job. Most jobs have some aspects you won’t like, but if you are spending the majority of your time doing things you actually enjoy, these will become insignificant. However, if most of your time is spent doing tasks you find boring, you won’t have much fun.
So make a list of the skills you want to use and the activities which you really want to be involved in. Don’t just stick to things you are good at. Just because you are good at something doesn’t mean you want to do it all day every day.
One Job Or Several?
It is possible that you won’t be able to get everything you want in one job. In this case, you should consider the possibility of having several part-time occupations, such as part-time job, some freelance work and an internet business. This will give you more job satisfaction and you will no longer be dependent on one employer.
Now that there are no longer many jobs for life, some experts believe that portfolio careers are the way to go. Learn more about portfolio careers and how you can set up your own, with our free 20 page report Portfolio Careers
And check out our career change ideas, tips and advice at http://www.coolercareers.com
My 79-year-old widowed mother has a part-time job aiding elderly people in their homes. I used to be amused by saying that; I mean, 79 is elderly, isn’t it?
The fact is, her paid work is a mere four hours a week, a small piece of her portfolio of several self-chosen activities which keep her vibrantly engaged with life. My mom is an admirable example of the “new old.”
But I’m no longer amused at the irony of her employment since I read about an 89-year-old former airline pilot who works 25 hours or more a week helping older adults find jobs. Yikes!
Meanwhile, following this great generation are baby boomers bracing for a future that will have them working beyond the standard retirement age. If it looks like you’ll be working into your 60s, 70s or beyond, here’s a twist on telecommuting that can give you a retirement vibe without retiring.
Try telecommuting as a way to get out of town and still earn a living.
Am I suggesting you take your laptop computer on your vacation? No, not that. Definitely not!
Instead, consider a seasonal escape where you do your usual work in the salubrious setting of your choice for six to eight weeks.
Imagine the following temporary work set-ups (but not all three, of course!):
â€¢ February and March at your South Carolina condo
â€¢ June and July at a vacation rental in Idaho or Ireland
â€¢ Thanksgiving through New Year’s at your son’s home in another state
Sounds lovely, you say? But how is it possible? I’ve outlined 5 steps, below.
This flexible work life tactic assumes you are a “knowledge worker,” i.e., a professional who commutes daily to reach a computer and a phone to do your job. We’ll turn it around so that the laptop and phone goes to the worker (you) instead.
It’s a progression of steps over six months.
Why not start today?
STEP 1: Change your thinking about how your job gets done.
Begin to recognize that you can work from anywhere. This may be a new idea for you so the biggest obstacles are probably in your mind. (We’ll deal with your manager separately.)
Most telecommuters work remotely one to three days a week. While not widespread, there are employees who work full time from home. Your intended gig is working full time from (a temporary, faraway) home for only a season.
STEP 2: Arrange to telecommute from your home.
First, redesign your job into telecommuting.
Don’t be put off if there are some job tasks that you can’t imagine being done from thousands of miles away. We’ll get to that further down.
Set up remote access to your work computer through your employer’s network or using remote access software.
Over a period of weeks, work an hour or so on a few job tasks in the evening or a Saturday from home. Don’t make it a habit; your goal is to prove to yourself-and eventually your manager-that you can perform your job well from home.
After you’ve proven to yourself it can be done, present a proposal to your manager to work from home two or three days of each five-day workweek.
Assuming approval of your request (most long-term, trusted employees get the green light for at least a trial period), you’ll move to Step 3.
STEP 3: Nudge telecommuting from home up to the next level.
After three months of telecommuting two or three days a week, request to work four days a week from home.
STEP 4: Arrange an in-person meeting with your manager to assess your telecommuting arrangement.
Your mission is to gauge your manager’s true comfort and confidence level about your work set-up.
With six months or more of solid telecommuting experience, you will have likely improved your output. Most remote workers see double-digit productivity increases; with fewer interruptions and no socializing, what’s to do but work?
This foundation, paired with your positioning as a reliable, well-performing employee your manager doesn’t want to lose (right?), sets you up to get approval of your request.
Yet, you need to get a clearer view of the situation from your manager’s perspective.
Is your he or she blown away at your productivity output (at which time you can reinforce the value of remote work and how it adds to your job satisfaction and achievements)?
Or is your manager suggesting that four days a week working away from the office is excessive?
What else? Listen carefully (especially between the lines). Do a subtle probe of the attitude environment so you can figure your next move.
STEP 5: Request your seasonal remote work arrangement.
Based on the outcome of Step 4, you’ll know (or sense) if and when it’s a wise move to go forward with your request.
Let’s say you have a good vibe about it and you’re planning to ask.
Make your request at least two months before your anticipated start date; given approval, you’ll need the time to make travel and accommodation arrangements.
Ask for eight weeks of long-distance telecommuting so you have room to negotiate for fewer.
If you meet little resistance and you really only want three to six weeks, confirm your travel arrangements first, then immediately alert your manager to the adjusted dates.
Fine-Tune Step 2
Looking back at Step 2, are there job tasks that can not be performed from a remote location? Let’s tackle that issue by considering the possibilities.
Could those particular job tasks:
â€¢ be skipped during the weeks that you’re away from the office?
â€¢ be deferred until your return?
â€¢ be delegated?
â€¢ be done in a collaborative way via telework tools?
â€¢ be given work-around treatment*?
If you’ve set up a job sharing arrangement, Step Two has fewer obstacles.
*Imagine you had to take several weeks of FMLA leave to be with your elderly parent in a faraway state during his or her hip replacement surgery, rehab and recuperation. Beyond your ability to access your office computer from your parent’s home to do some work, how would you and your employer manage the other aspects of your job? There’s no perfect solution, but there’s usually a work-it-out solution. Think in those terms.
Make it Happen
Is this an unusual arrangement? Yes.
Is it really possible? Yes, if you follow the steps above over a sufficient chunk of time, you may be surprised at the flexible work lifestyle you can craft for yourself that has hints of a retirement vibe.
Flexible work adviser and pay raise coach Pat Katepoo equips career professionals to negotiate for more time and money at their current job. Will your boss say YES to your request for a flexible work arrangement? Find out using this quick 3-question quiz. Find more tools and tactics for a flexible work life after 50 at WorkOptions.com.
It seems the aspirations of baby boomers are changing from ones of retirement, to those of entrepreneurship. Over the past decade, Americans age 55 to 64 have seen the highest rate of entrepreneurial activity, especially since the traditional business model and large corporations no longer provide the job security they used to.
Despite a bleak economic outlook, America is on the cusp of an entrepreneurial boom, according to a study conducted by the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation.
One of the most popular endeavors for those in this age bracket is that of a professional business or life coach. Boomers are well suited to this professional calling based on their vast business and life experience. Coaching is the practice of focusing existing talents and channeling them to create true significance and empowerment to change in the lives of others.
Even before the entrepreneurial boomers took to the profession, the coaching industry has seen tremendous growth, with revenues topping $1 billion in 2008. The International Coach Federation, because of the demand for coaches, has seen an explosion in its membership since its creation in 1995. Membership has grown from fewer than 1,000 members to more than 14,000. Additionally, between 25 to 40 percent of Fortune 500 companies use executive coaches, as reported in a recent survey by The Hay Group, an International Human Resources consultancy.
“Baby boomers comprise the largest segment of our student and graduate base,” comments D. Luke Lorio, president of iPEC’s coach training division. “The baby boom generation brings with it the experience, skills, contacts, drive and other resources to pursue entrepreneurial opportunities such as coaching. They reached a point in their careers where they want to capitalize on their experience and often give back to others. Coaching has provided them an outlet to help others while also earning substantial incomes.”
On average, experienced life coaches are earning an average of $77,000 per year, and experienced corporate/business coaches are earning an average of $134,800 per year, according to the 2009 Sherpa Executive Coaching Study.
With baby boomers living healthier and longer lives, they are no longer following traditional retirement paths and instead are seeking second and third careers. There’s been a shift away from lifetime jobs with long-term employment – with a noticeable drop among people ages 35 to 64 years old during the past 50 years, according to the study.
Jim Kelly, president of Real Leaders Lead Executive Coaching (RealLeadersLead.com), is a baby boomer success story. The 63-year-old certified professional coach was attracted to coaching because it was a career that was truly aligned with his values of giving back and empowering others to live their dreams.
“My 35 years of real world leadership and life experience, including a tenure as CEO of a multi-million dollar company, is the ideal foundation for a coaching business. I went through the ups and downs of every career and the struggles of building successful businesses. It is that experience that allows me to help leaders navigate similar experiences much more quickly than if they go it alone,” says Kelly. “My coaching business is strong because clients are investing in the one thing they know will produce a return: themselves.”
Here are six ways to know if a career in coaching is for you:
* People usually come to you for advice and you have a positive impact on them.
* You value personal growth and seek a career that will utilize your strengths.
* You see great potential in people and are frustrated when they don’t exercise that potential.
* You emphasize strong relationships and a balanced life with many interests, including vitality in health and career.
* You’re not afraid of hard work to create more personal and financial freedom.
* You know you have a gift – and you want to share it to help yourself and others live a more powerful and fulfilling life.
To find out more about careers in coaching, contact www.iPECcoaching.com.
Courtesy of ARAcontent
Despite legislation prohibiting it, age is a common factor in hiring decisions. This is especially true for older workers who must combat a number of negative stereotypes, specifically that they are less energetic, enthusiastic and creative. Recruiting managers have confirmed that companies often will note that they would prefer a younger candidate. What is a mature job seeker to do in the face of this reticence? Last year, the BBC ran an informative article with practical job search suggestions for the middle aged job seekers with seven key tips paraphrased below.
1. Know the stereotype and confront it
Stereotypes exist for workers of all ages. Generally speaking, younger workers are considered:
Physically more able and healthy
Easier to supervise
Lower salary expectations
Willing to use new technology
While mature workers are considered:
Have good practical knowledge
You might think that the best strategy is to extenuate the positive qualities associated with your age group. According to the experts cited in the BBC article, this is the worst possible strategy. Prospective employers will already assume that you offer loyalty, stability, etc. and saying so will just reinforce the negative biases as well. What employers don’t know (unless you tell them) is that you are creative, energetic, comfortable with new technology, etc. These “young” qualities are exactly the types of things you will want to emphasize.
2. Don’t stereotype yourself
Whether you are in or out of work, push to receive training to keep up with important trends. Technology has become a critical element of almost every industry. If there is something you are not comfortable with then get comfortable with it–even if it means asking your kids!
3. Try something new
Don’t feel that you must stay in the same industry you just left. While it’s true that your relationships and experience are most applicable to the same industry, if your industry is contracting you might be forced to look outward. Odds are you have skills that are transferable to other industries and industries that are growing are more apt to hire from outside. (LifeTwo recommends Marci Alboher’s book on multiple careers).
4. Look after yourself
While your focus will be on finding a new job, this is a particularly important time to be looking after yourself. You will want to present an image of being “healthy, motivated and confident” and the best way to do this is to be these. You should be eating well, exercising, and keeping in touch with contacts and friends. Now is the time to be networking even more than when you were employed. (LifeTwo recommends the book “Never Eat Alone” for networking tips).
5. Appearance matters
Appearance really does matter in job interviews. For mature workers you will want to once again confront the stereotype of being an older person. This doesn’t mean dressing to look young, but instead looking up-to-date and modern. The BBC article also emphasizes the importance of not coming off as condescending if interviewed by a younger person and make sure the interviewer walks away with the feeling that you are at ease working with people of all ages.
6. Don’t let the process get to you
Make no mistake about it, looking for a job (regardless of your age) is a grind. Make the best of it and understand that it is numbers game. The more resumes you put in the hands of qualified people and the more interviews you go on, the higher the likelihood you will get a job.
7. Leverage external resources
There are incredible number of resources available on the Internet (including the job/career section on LifeTwo). The BBC article also has links to numerous relevant sites as well.
How can you get help with your job search yet steer clear of services that over-promise, overcharge and under deliver?
The New York Times and other major publications have reported on “recruiting” services that advertise nonexistent six-figure jobs in order to lure in unsuspecting job seekers. Then they pitch resume rewrites and promise “unpublished jobs” or propose blind mailing programs. Other scams are resume writing services, sometimes using offshore non-English speaking writers who do not have the background to write about you or use the subtle language cues necessary at all level and all occupations.
Each of these might take your money and leave you worse off than when you started. Here’s an overview to help you understand today’s job search reality and the challenges:
Â· You must use several methods not just contacts, career sites or blind mailings to companies. The effort must be guided by a plan and that means carefully structured from an understanding of you. Â· Avoid getting “Ripped Off,” find and use a specialized job coach to get your next job. Out of 500 plus career or job board sites there are probably only 1 to 2 that you should use.
Â· Many private companies often owned by private equity firms are not on many lists of companies and often are the best sources for jobs.
Â· Every resume and cover letter must be highly targeted. It takes time to do them the right way, and they must be used to build your online presence
Â· The harsh truth is in today’s stressful job market you need to be ready to adjust your strategy and approach to changing opportunities.
To avoid these “rip-off” services you need to understand and do three things:
1. Get coached on best current job search methods, sources and positioning
2. Target your presence CAREFULLY via linking means, marketing and research
3. Tirelessly work to find and go after possible jobs. Probably 5-6 hours a day.
This is the best way to avoid services that often promise to market you to lists of companies and do such things as helping to instantly rewrite your resume. They prey on anxious job seekers by offering fake or not available jobs on Internet sites, and then contacting people offering a complete service for thousands of dollars. There is no question that some of these services do add value. However, many do not care to gain enough insight into your own situation, or have only one limited course of action for a short duration.
Once you understand today’s job search world you will see what you do must be very carefully tailored. You must use a number of sources to find, isolate and close a possible job. You must also use various methods depending on your exact requirements. You will also need to work extra hard to be successful.
Highly Specialized Job Coach
Job search coaching from professionals with integrity is the best form of help. Look for coaches highly specialized in job searches, willing to work with you weekly, completely aware of the current job environment and resources, and confident enough to have you pay as you make progress. The right job search coach can make your effort more productive and help you avoid getting Ripped Off.
Costs, insights and free content are available from Charles Moldenhauer. Contact him at: http://www.executivejobcoach Ask the author, Charles Moldenhauer, via email at: [email protected] – 646 943 0250
If You Are Over 50 What are the best jobs for over 50s who are not happy with their present situation or who have been made redundant? Previously, most people over the age of 50 were well established in their careers, and while this is still the case for some, especially those in the professions like medicine or law, the situation is changing.
At the moment, many people in their 50s have lost their jobs or are working on short term or temporary contracts or doing two or three part time jobs to try to make ends meet.
As we are all living longer these days, thoughts of retirement at 60 or 65 are no longer realistic for the majority of people.
Using Experience – Vacancies for Over 50s
This is a new trend, unfortunately not yet a big one, in which companies actually realize the advantages of hiring people who have experience of both work and life in general.
In fact, there are now organizations which specialize in placing ads or offering recruitment services online for this age group. You must be careful to check out the site to see that it is run by a reputable agency. There are also specialist government sites in many areas offering help finding employment if you are over 50.
If you search for jobs for over 50s in your area, you should find some relevant websites. Most will also help you with your CV or resume and advise you on how to present your experience, enabling you to find the job which is best for you.
These agencies offer both full and part time jobs, as well as contract work and volunteer positions. This gives you the flexibility to choose whichever type of work is most suited to your experience and your lifestyle and opens up new options you might never have considered before.
Some Examples of Jobs Offered Online
One example which sounds fun and should be possible in any English speaking country is, host/tutor for students visiting to learn English. (This one does require either a degree or a teaching qualification plus a spare room.)
There are quite a few posts at different levels in sales and telephone sales and numerous work-from-home posts, including relationship manager, which I’d never heard of before. This particular vacancy was for someone to help busy executives buy their business clothing.
Book keeping and accounting on an hourly paid basis. In fact, freelancing as a consultant in work you did previously is an excellent option for experienced workers, if there is a demand for what they can do.
If you have business experience, you may also be able to help people who are setting up their own businesses.
As with any online job offers, you need to be careful to avoid scams. Join several websites and read the sites in detail. If there is a forum you should be able to find out about other people’s experiences of the agency. As you get to know the sites, you will find one or two you feel comfortable with and which are offering the type of work you want.
If you are considering accepting an offer, read the contract carefully and make sure you understand the terms. Many work at home posts operate on a commission basis and care should be taken if considering any of this type of work.
The internet has opened up a great many possibilities for finding jobs for the over 50s and if you take time and care when using it, you could find the best job for you.
Do you want to create several streams of income to support yourself in your retirement? Download our free report now and start to build a secure future for yourself and your family.
And if you want to change careers but don’t know how to, read articles, advice and tips written by a qualified careers advisor at: http://www.coolercareers.com
The 21st Century was supposed to usher in a wave of retiring Baby Boomers who would live off the spoils of their retirement funds traveling to sunny destinations, playing golf and enjoying time with their grandchildren. The reality of 2009 has many Baby Boomers reconsidering this vision of their future! Some Baby Boomers who feel that they are in the prime of their careers and too young retire, have postponed leaving the labor force for several more years. While other retiree-wanna be’s are forced to continue working because current economic circumstances have depleted their retirement savings, depreciated their home value and raised the cost of living, leaving them without the necessary funds to retire.
Whatever their reason for staying in the labor market, many Baby Boomers claim age discrimination when it comes time to look for a new job. This is a difficult claim to refute when you look at the results of a recent US Labor Statistics Report. Although the rate of unemployment for Baby Boomers is lower than the national average of 8.9%, when unemployment hits this group it lasts longer than any other demographic; 22 weeks on average. And as the recession deepens it is predicted that this time period will be even longer. The good news for Baby Boomers is that there are simple things that they can do to ward off age discrimination and land their next great job. No plastic surgery or hair dye required!
1. Ageless Thinking
If you believe that your age is an issue, then it will be issue! Focus your energy on selling your skills and experience to potential employers, not on defending your age.
2. Think Healthy
The only time you should divulge health conditions during an interview is if good physical health is a requirement for a job. If you have had previous health problems, heart attack, diabetes, cancer, etc, do not volunteer this information to a potential employer.
3. Have a technology friendly Ugly Resume
In a sea of thousands of other applicants, you must have a technology friendly resume that can be found and entices hiring managers to call you. Younger applicants would never mail a typed resume to a potential employer, nor should you.
4. Make your Ugly Resume Ageless
Do not include your birth date, graduation date or more than 15 years of experience on your resume. Do not list out-dated software, hardware or systems experience. Listing out-dated technical skills paints a picture of an out-dated job seeker.
5. Be Selective
Only apply for jobs that you are qualified for. Do not apply for jobs that you are either over-qualified or under-qualified for. You will set yourself up for rejection and disappointment.
6. Use Technology
When applying for a job, apply online or email the potential employer directly. These simple actions indicate to a potential employer that you have the basic technical aptitude needed to do most jobs.
7. Have an Ageless Interview
During an interview, sell the benefits of “you” to a potential employer. Do not spend the interview defending your age or trying to convince the interviewer that you have the health and stamina to do the job! Younger job seekers would never mention these points, nor should you.
8. Build a Bridge
When interviewing with a younger hiring manager, do not intimidate him or her with your age and experience. Do not make statements such as: “when you were in diapers, I was managing a team of 30 people” or “the work ethic from my generation is much better than your generation”. You need to make this person comfortable with you and make them feel that they can manage you without any problems.
9. Don’t answer any direct questions about your age.
It is illegal for employers to ask direct questions about your age during an interview. If a potential employer asks you how old you are, don’t answer the question; rather answer the intent behind the question.
10. Sell Your Lifestyle
Older job seekers offer employers many benefits over their younger counter-parts such as: years of proven experience, expertise, seasoned judgment and lack of family responsibilities (small children) that may interfere with job performance. Sell these features of you during an interview!
If you have experienced age discrimination during an interview, don’t get discourage! Find another opening, apply and move on. There are plenty of employers who value older workers. Remember, you have worked too hard in your life to end up in a job where you are not valued. For more tips on how to successfully land your next great job, see Ugly Resumes Get Jobs and Other Fishing Lessons (www.uglyresumes.com).
Jennifer Rallis is co-author of Ugly Resumes Get Jobs and Other Fishing Lessons (http://www.uglyresumes.com) CEO of CORPX, a technical recruiting firm and VP of BM Imports.
The most common concern among job seekers over 50 is that their resume tends to date them. While it’s true that with age comes wisdom, it’s also true that securing a great new job becomes challenging after a certain age. If you are a member of the baby boomer generation you’ll want to take note of the following three resume rules.
1. Don’t make it a history lesson.
One sure way to date yourself is to take your resume all the way back to your first job out of college. That type of ancient history only serves to give a time line to your age. Worse yet, it may show a zig-zag career path that leaves the reader wondering how you arrived at your current career destination.
When deciding how far back in your career history to go, think in terms of relevancy rather than years. As a general rule, go back only as far as it relates to your current career objective. There are a few exceptions to the rule. First, if your current career path is five years or less you’ll need to show a few years prior. Otherwise the reader will wonder where you came from and how you got there. The second exception is if you are returning to a previous career path and wish to show the experience. In that case you’ll want to use the hybrid resume format to allow your most relevant accomplishments up at the top of your resume.
2. Get rid of ancient technology.
Another way your resume says “old codger” is by your choice of technology information. Selling your skills with outdated technology is as ineffective as an ad for buggy whips. It tells the reader that you are living in the past rather than solving today’s problems with today’s technology.
One way to weed out your resume of old technology is to test your resume against current job postings. Compare the needed technology skills with what your resume lists. Delete what is no longer current. If you find gaps look around for ways to bring your skills up to date. Professional associations often provide certifications and special training to help bring you up to date.
3. Make the present as alluring as the past.
The worst resume error for post-fifty job seekers is when their chronological resume shows all the best accomplishments in earlier employment entries. Nothing says “has been” like accomplishments that don’t show up until page two or three. If your resume has no accomplishments illustrated for the most current five years the reader has no choice but to conclude you are an “over the hill” worker with no ambition left. No employer wants to hire dead wood.
Given the downward trend of business over the past several years, lack of resume accomplishments is a common problem. None the less, make all effort to include accomplishments in your most recent years even if you feel that your best years were pre-2001. Think in terms of problems you’ve solved, costs you’ve cut, man-hours you’ve saved and clients you’ve kept.
Another way to get accomplishments on page one is with a hybrid resume format that allows you to create a highlight of accomplishments section at the top of page one.
Age discrimination may be against the law, but we all know that it takes place. Don’t let your resume stop you from getting your chance to interview for your next job. Make sure your resume draws attention to your skills, abilities and accomplishment rather than your age. Let your success stories show how you can solve today’s critical business problems.
Deborah Walker, CCMC is a career coach helping job seekers nationwide. Her clients gain skills in resume writing, interviewing and salary negotiation. See her sample resumes and read more job search tips at http://www.AlphaAdvantage.com