If you’re an out of work Boomer looking to “get back in the game,” you’ll need to update and shorten your resume, polish your cover letter and practice your job interviewing skills with (ideally) a younger person. Once you’ve done that, you'll need to create and refine your LinkedIn profile. Don’t have one? We’ve got work to do.
In a recent MarketWatch article, Andrea Coombes quoted Debra Wheatman, president of Careers Done Write, a career coaching and services provider in New York on the importance of LinkedIn for boomers. As a networking site, LinkedIn “can absolutely facilitate a robust job search,” said Wheatman. Coombes referred to a 2012 survey conducted by recruiting-technology company Jobvite, which noted that nearly 90 percent of 1,000 recruiters surveyed said they have hired through LinkedIn.
While not all surveys place such a direct connection between LinkedIn and hiring, chances are good that recruiters and job managers will look up and review your LinkedIn profile before they call you in for an interview. If you’ve never had a LinkedIn profile or your profile is simply out of date, there are things you can and should do to make it shine professionally. Some suggestions:
Sell yourself in a photo
Most recruiters and HR managers want to see a photo on your LinkedIn profile. It could be age discrimination or maybe they just want to see how well groomed you are and if you have life in your eyes. Posting a photo can be tricky for boomers. First off, using Photoshop to wipe out double chins, eyebags and crows feet can be tempting. But the shock of seeing a 60-year-old walk in for an interview when the recruiter was expecting a 40’s LinkedIn persona can be a turn off. If you can afford it, have a professional photographer take your profile photo. Most will know how to use lighting and portrait angles to take a few years off your face.
Sell yourself in a headline
If you look at most LinkedIn profiles, you’ll notice that LinkedIn automatically places an individual’s current job title under their name. Job titles are generic, stiff and do very little selling. Use this opportunity to say something about yourself. Look to your cover letter or pore over your resume to find that "performance nugget" that puts you above other candidates. And don’t forget to throw in a few keywords recruiters will be looking for in your job description.
Sell Yourself in a Boomers Networking Group
LinkedIn has one. It’s called the Baby Boomers Networking Group. It’s not all about finding jobs. But you can certainly bring up this relevant topic and connect with other boomers who are “in your shoes.” Posting comments and referencing any articles you wrote will appear on your LinkedIn profile. It’s another opportunity to sell yourself.
Don’t have a LinkedIn profile? Get one. And get busy fully exploiting its power.
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