FINDING YOUR NEXT JOB WHEN YOU’RE OVER 40
We are excited to share with you another great blog written by the very talented Melanie, one of our Recruitment Partners in North America. Melanie specializes in recruiting and sourcing focused on diversity candidates for a variety of industries. She trains / consults organizations on diversity and inclusion, employee engagement, culture, employer and candidate branding and other talent acquisition and retention strategies. Enjoy her blog!
Being over 40 is fantastic. Finding your next job when you’re over 40; not so much.
I feel your pain. It IS harder to find a job when you’re over 40. If you don’t know me, look at my profile picture while I admit something: I am over 50. (You’re shocked, I know!) Know what? I’ve earned every single one of those gray hairs, along with the wisdom that comes over time. In the 20+ years that I’ve been a recruiter and, more recently, resume writer and candidate coach, I’ve spoken with thousands and thousands of people from all around the world.
Lately, I’ve been working with a lot of people over 40 who’ve been laid off, downsized, or took a package from the same company that employed them for most of their careers. Almost all of them reached out to me because they had one or more of these issues: either they’re not accustomed to looking for a job, they know the job search landscape has changed but don’t know how to navigate through it, they don’t feel very confident about their skill set, they don’t know how to behave in an interview, or they’re intimidated by social media (but don’t want to ask their kids for advice.)
So, what’s changed in the decade or so since you last looked for a job?
A little thing called LinkedIn became the go-to place to search for a job online. Now that so many people search for jobs on LinkedIn, responding to these job ads rarely work. To make matters worse, today, a recruiter or hiring manager initially evaluates your “total package” before they ever lay eyes on you BUT they may never lay eyes on you because you’ve been disqualified for having too much experience.
Why? Because when you submit an online application, you can be screened out in an instant (no longer being considered for the opening) by a company’s Applicant Tracking System if you have more experience than called for in the ad. What happens after you’ve been screened out by the Applicant Tracking System? Your resume goes into a black hole and no one ever gets in touch with you. This is especially true when you want to change careers but haven’t changed your resume.
So how do you fight this if you’re over 40 and looking for a job? Accept the fact that searching for a job is now more complicated.
It’s no longer enough to submit your resume and cover letter. Today, you’re also judged by your social media persona as part of the “total package” that makes up your “personal brand.”
I wish this wasn’t the case but in today’s job market, you need to package yourself as a brand. What makes up your brand? In addition to your resume and cover letter; recruiters and hiring managers are also looking at your social media profile, pictures, and comments on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to decide if they want to reach out to you. A lot of recruiters will not reach out to you if you have no social media presence or a paper-thin listing on LinkedIn without a picture.
That leaves most of you not currently engaging on most or all these fronts in your job search with two tough choices. Ask yourself this: are you willing and able to do all this work or do you need someone else to help you? Before you answer that question, you need to know one thing- I guarantee you a lot of your competition is using one or more of these social media platforms to their advantage.
Being honest with yourself is hard. Writing your resume is hard. Having the patience to learn about and use LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter in your job search is hard. Keeping your chin up and moving on when you respond to an ad and your resume ends up in a black hole because you have too much experience is hard. Having a hiring manager or the whole team judge you and decide in 20 minutes that you don’t fit the company’s culture is hard.
These situations can make you feel humiliated, steal your confidence, and make you (wrongly) conclude that you’re just not able to land a job in today’s economy. I know exactly how you feel because I’ve been there in the past. And then I got over it.
You can too.
Need help or have questions? Start here or leave your question in the comment section. Send me a direct message on LinkedIn or email me if you need help with your resume, your social media “persona”, job search strategies or interview skills.