I’m over 50 and I got a job. In fact I had 2 offers to choose from (for the first time in my career). How did I do this? You’re going to love this: “I did what my wife told me to do.” In my case, my wife is a Certified Career Coach and Professional Resume Writer. She wrote my resume, helped me brand myself, coached me on interviewing, helped me craft my SMART (Situation and More, Action, Result, Tie-In theme) stories, provided ongoing feedback about what I was doing right and what I was doing wrong – pretty much what she does for her customers.
What Did I Learn?
The resume and cover letter (or cover email) are key to getting you to the point of a phone interview (phone screen, usually with HR). Both (resume and cover letter) need to reflect key elements the employer is looking for and how you satisfy this need. This means you have to tailor both for every application you make. Failure to do this will result in your being eliminated before you even get a chance to ‘talk’. Nobody cares about more than the last 15 (maybe 20) years of your experience,. Including more makes your resume too long and invites other problems.
When you do get that ‘phone screen’, you need to be prepared with your ‘elevator speech’ – 30 seconds on what you do and why you’re good. Your ‘crisp’ SMART stories ‘tweaked’ to pertain specifically to the job/employer in question. Good solid reasonable explanations for how you got where you are. Corporate changes, layoffs, restructuring are a fact of modern corporate life. Don’t avoid them, don’t belabor them, be honest and move on. Projecting excitement and energy are key.
When you finally get through the phone screen(s) to an in person interview, it starts over. Your SMART Stories and elevator speech should be ‘re-tuned’ to be an even better fit for the position. You must do all the things we all know are good (good eye contact, positive body language, control your hands, smile). Again, it’s imperative to project excitement, energy and a ‘can do’ attitude. You’re over 50 and to some that’s a liability. You have a wealth of experience; that needs to come out. You’ve ‘been there, done that’.
There’s more! These are what I believe are/were the ‘keys’ for me.