Are you looking for a job at the moment?
I asked job-seeking expert Anne-Marie Kane at Resumes for Results to give you her insights and tips, to help you navigate the modern minefield of job-hunting, and added a few ideas of my own. Here’s the result:
Tip 1: Let go of the ‘old ways’ of thinking
It may be 20 years since you last put together a resume or sat down with the local classified job ads and a cup of tea. Times have changed, and you need to change your techniques to match.
Everything is done online now. Your resume may be read first by an applicant tracking system, scanning for keywords that relate to the role you’re applying for.
Tip 2: No dates, no photos
Anti-discrimination laws mean you no longer need to put your age, date of birth or photo on your resume or job application. You need to tell the truth if asked, but don’t go out of your way to share when you finished high school.
You may be justifiably proud of your 40 years’ experience in one industry. But in your resume, describe it as ‘deep expertise’ or ‘a seasoned executive’.
Tip 3. Be succinct
Your resume should be no more than one to three pages, submitted as a PDF. Focus on what is most relevant to the specific job requirements – you don’t need to specify every single job you’ve ever done.
Tip 4. Flip your resume to focus on achievements (not duties)
Think of your resume as a way to explain the skills you can quickly transfer into a new role. List all your key achievements and skills on the front page, as that is where they will be scanned to match the position. Think about skills such as excellent communicator, adaptable and flexible, adept problem-solver. Be specific with the results – if you wrote a manual, ran a training program, doubled sales or won an award make sure you mention it up front. If you’re struggling to work out what your achievements are, think about what might happen in your workplace if you left your job tomorrow.
Tip 5. Show you invest time in your own development
It’s important to keep your skills up to date, and you can do many reputable courses online for free or very little cost. Take a look at Open2Study – you can get a certificate of achievement in areas such as business management or HR.
It’s a common myth that older workers are less tech-savvy – proving you have IT skills by completing an online course (whether in IT or not) may help you overcome that belief.
Tip 6. Get social
It’s not what you know, it’s who you know. So how strong is your network? It may be worth joining an industry association and attending events to make new connections – or if you’re currently not working, consider voluntary work in a field that interests you. As many as 80% of job vacancies are never publicly advertised – they are shared through networks. And when it comes to social networking, LinkedIn is the king of job seeking tools.
Tip 7. Be positive and be prepared
Make sure you’re well presented at interviews, and think about how you’d answer typical questions. You may need to proactively reassure them you’re interested in working for many years yet, that you’re in good health and that you enjoy working with people of all ages.
Sometimes your language may come across as outdated. Avoid saying things like ‘back in my day’, ‘we used to use telex machines’ or ‘the young girls in the office…’
Above all, breathe. Walk in with a smile, shake hands and be positive.
If you’re interested in more, download our free ‘Land that Job’ report.