Game On For The Older Unemployed

Resume addendums and other new tricks for older jobseekers

Man and woman shaking hands over LED sign saying you're hired in office
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Searching for a job as an older employee can be intimidating. It can feel like the deck is stacked against you, but if you take the right steps, there are jobs and employers seeking senior employees who can lead a company through difficult times.

Today's job hunt is more digital than ever, but job hunting basics still apply. Here are six steps that resulted in my landing a job after a five-month search.

1. LinkedIn Profile
Everything starts with LinkedIn. It has become so pervasive in job searches, it trumps the resume as a starting point. For several jobs, I first invited recruiters to view my profile before sending a resume. It always led to a connection or interview and started a personal conversation which immediately pulled my resume to the top of the pile.

LinkedIn does not replace a resume, but writing effective profiles for LinkedIn is great training for writing pithy resumes. Attending a free LinkedIn seminar early in my search proved critical for helping me rethink and maximize my profile. I then searched colleagues and competitors to pick up wording tips, and updated my photo with a professional picture.

2. The Resume
Even though it had only been three years since I last used my resume, I needed a complete rewrite to effectively market myself in the new job hunt. A coach re-schooled me on latest do's and don'ts. As critical as the resume is, I don't recommend paying for resume services as there are many free resources.

Job objectives long passé were already off my resume, but my summary was revised from a bulleted checklist to a paragraph summarizing my senior level capabilities. Earliest jobs were completely removed as latest wisdom says not to display jobs older than 10 years, lest you not only date yourself but appear too trained in older ways of working rather than modern techniques and technologies. Dates on my college degrees were removed to focus on my degrees rather than my age. Most importantly, in contrast to the summary, job descriptions changed from paragraphs to just one paragraph followed by bulleted lists showing measurable results for specific types of projects.

3. Resume Addendums
I invented a new technique called the Resume Addendum. Most of my career was spent in two industries. I had credentials in the other fields, but since my earlier jobs had been removed from the resume, they were now absent from the resume. I created two different Resume Addendums that highlighted these experiences. The one-page addendums had no dates, and only listed years of experience in various roles. It worked. My first interview and a few afterwards came from the addendums.

4. Job Listings
There are many job boards, but LinkedIn is the most important. Jobs on LinkedIn are real and timely whereas many job boards have dated listings. I ultimately saw the listing for the job I now hold on LinkedIn, but created a daily habit of checking several key boards.

5: Time Sensitivity
Whenever a job posted of interest I answered within 48 hours. The competition is so strong, that many jobs are taken down after one day. When my resume or profile resonated with the job, I frequently heard from recruiters through LinkedIn within hours if not days.

6. Quality Cover Letters
Cover letters are still key and quality trumps quantity. I wrote each cover letter specific to the posted job description. I had several standard experience bullet points, but chose 3-4 unique for each letter based on the job requirements. Each letter of the dozens sent out was unique and specific. It was a good day if one great tailored cover letter went out.

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As mentioned in one of the other posts, it never hurts to learn a few new tips and nothing says you need to follow them.

What I find most demoralizing about this article is that it seems that it is not about your background, experience or what you bring to the table, it seems its all about how "savvy" you are with your resume writing or conforming to some industry convention that if you do it "this" way you'll get noticed, but if you do it "that" your resume will end up in the trash. The fact that the author mentioned she took a course on how to set up her LinkedIn page alone is scary.

I remember a few years ago I took the LSAT test, but didn't take the prep course, and you guessed it, I didn't do to well. I was a bit dismayed that basically without the course on how to approach the problems you didn't stand a chance. To me in terms of validity and reliability, that was not a true measure of my ability to succeed, nor a measure of someone who did take the course and did well.

I have been in the same work force for 25 yrs and have done well, but now I am looking for a second career and find it frustrating that I will be judged on the font or layout of my resume as opposed to the information that is in it. This is my first post, so please be kind :).

February 21 2014 at 3:02 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Cleo O'Donnell

Cover letters are important only if you are not using a recruiter. Optional when using a computer. And I do not agree that linkedin is the most import job board. Maybe if you're in marketing but broaden your outlook to other industries. They have few jobs posted in linkedin and there are many job boards for technical fields.

February 15 2014 at 7:58 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

What is the chart for older people in having a chance to be hired? The chart would indicate age versus %(chance of being hired). I am interested because I've been providing daycare for my granddaughter since I retired in 2006 and time is passing by so should I even try? I worked as Electronic ,Radio Telecomm technician

February 11 2014 at 9:44 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Mr Mark Laurenti

The tips can't hurt!

February 10 2014 at 10:19 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

This is nonsense. Age discrimination is alive and well today. It doesn't matter how much experience you have, when it comes down to it you are the age you are, and nothing on a resume can change that. Not putting dates on degrees or eliminating jobs over ten years won't cut it. Bottom line, it's not what you know, it's who you know in order to get hired today. I'm 57 years old and have been at this for the last five years. Despite having a college education and thirty years work experience in two fields, all that anyone seems to want to offer me are sales jobs, or low paying retail jobs. They can hire someone younger for far less money who will put up with abuse. The perception is the older worker isn't in it for the long haul, which is not true. At this point I'm thinking self employed is the way to go. Or retire ASAP.

February 10 2014 at 9:42 PM Report abuse +8 rate up rate down Reply
Angry White Guy

While many of these things are certainly positive, action steps to take on anyone's resume, the underlying theme continues to be finding ways to disguise your birth date through clever writing.

This never works, and even if you get to the interview stage, be prepared to suddenly be 'over qualified' or that the employer 'went with another candidate who was a better match' (read: younger).

If you are an older worker, go in a different direction and go into business for yourself if at all possible.

February 10 2014 at 8:13 AM Report abuse +11 rate up rate down Reply

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