Some of the hardest hit job seekers are those in their 40’s and beyond. They’re in that terrible epicenter of not being high enough on the totem pole to be “saved” by job cuts and too far away from the bottom to be affordable and re-trainable. So out go the resumes, and the phone calls to past colleagues, friends, and business associates. If you’re one of the unlucky mid-40’s recently unemployed and can’t land a decent job, there are things you may be doing to unintentionally torpedo your job search.
You’re Touting Too Much Experience
Most employers are looking for someone with 3-8 years of experience. Structure your resume to show that you have 8 years of experience in the job being advertised. Do the same if you’re called in for an interview. Too many job seekers over 40 proudly boast of having 20 or 25 years experience in the field. This immediately sets up a “disconnect” between the candidate and the more than likely younger boss he or she will be working for. And don’t make the mistake of saying you’re ready for a change. Roy Cohen, career coach and author of The Wall Street Professional’s Survival Guide notes that such a statement leaves the impression you’re bored and possibly unmotivated.
You’re Touting Omnipotence
Some over-40 job seekers claim they know it all—every aspect of a prospective employer’s business. Their resumes are four pages long and their interviews drag as they relate “war stories” about how they “bagged the whale” in sales or how they saved their last employer from financial ruin. Touting specifics about improving efficiencies and saving a company money have their place, but it’s best to keep them short and limited to a response to a question by the interviewer. Too much braggadocio can make you seem cocky and un-trainable. Not good.
You’re Touting Ancient Technology
Talking about the computers and programs you used in your last job can make you appear “fossilized.” This supports the contention that over-40 job seekers are out of touch with tech. If you used ancient programs and devices in your last job, stay mum. If asked, recall the research you dug up (or should have) on the prospective employer’s systems and name drop them, adding that you’re familiar with these systems. Mary Eileen Williams, author of' Land the Job You Love: 10 Surefire Strategies for Jobseekers Over 50 lists three tech-training sites over 40s can use to brush up on tech skills: Lynda.com, GCFlearnfree.org and Microsoft Office Training.
You’re Touting Your Monetary Worth
You may have pulled in a nice six-figure salary in your last job, but that could have been one reason you were let go. Today’s employers are under tremendous pressure to cut costs, which is why they keep hiring college grads with limited experience. So keep your salary requests in line with the dozens of younger, hungry applicants vying for the job you want. For some handy tips, check out Jake Williamson’s book, Salary Negotiation Tips: How to Determine What You're Worth and Get It!
Over 45 and can’t land a job? You’re touting too much and scouting too little. Try the suggestions mentioned above and get busy.
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