Age and experience used to be a good thing on a resume.
At least that’s what everyone over 40 was taught.
It was a good thing until a few years ago, because age and experience gave the impression that you had already solved similar problems to the hiring manager’s priorities – since that’s what a hiring manager is really looking for.
But then a few changes all happened within a few years. First, employers (even small employers) started using applicant tracking systems to micro target job applicants for very specific criteria. Next, the job market changed from a market of candidate shortages to one of job shortages. So, the job market turned to mass competition, with an average 1,000 candidates for each advertised job.
Finally, Google …
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It’s not like Google is a new phenomena, it’s been around for a long time. But each year Google has been a go-to business tool, it’s gotten better … and better.
Google has become so good at creating a collective intelligence that it’s reduced the value of age and experience. You doubt this, because you know of dozens of your experiences that Google can’t replace. But think of all of the experiences that Google describes, advices and returns expertise of thought leaders … and that does replace (and devalues) much of the experience that age implies.
Because much (no, not all) of your experience can be replicated by a junior employee and Google at a much lower cost.
It doesn’t have to be that way.
Here’s 4 ways you can brand your resume so your age is a non-issue:
- Be the superior candidate: When you’re the superior candidate, age is rarely a deal breaker. Because when you’re the superior candidate, you stand head and shoulders above the rest. But each hiring manager has a different idea of what a superior candidate looks like … because each hiring manager has different needs. While each hiring manager has different needs, there is a common factor – superior candidates have already solved similar problems to the hiring manager’s current and upcoming issues. To be the superior candidate, you’ll want to first learn the hiring manager’s priority issues and then highlight how you’ve solved similar problems for prior employers … also showing how important the results were to prior employers.
- Don’t brand yourself as qualified: With mass competition and job shortages, qualified candidates are a dime-a-dozen to most hiring managers. Since there’s typically more qualified candidates than interview slots, being qualified isn’t enough to get you interviews today. Since there are typically so many qualified candidates replying to job ads, when you brand yourself as qualified, you look just like the other candidates. The HR reps and recruiters reviewing resumes typically review hundreds of resumes per day, so they all start to look the same – It’s human nature to look for differences, when looking at hundreds of resumes that look basically the same. If you can’t differentiate yourself effectively, guess what makes you different and gets noticed …Your age. Focus your resume on differentiation, rather than your qualifications.
- Don’t look similar to other candidates: When you look similar to other candidates, you lose to ageism. When your reader sees age as your primary differentiating factor, it’s almost never positive. Rather than looking the same as other candidates, find ways to differentiate that you’re a superior candidate who has already solved similar problems to the hiring manager’s priorities.
- Don’t describe your experience as replicable: If an employer can replace your experience with Google searches, you lose to ageism. Just stating that you have 20+ years of experience isn’t enough – it used to mean that you had a better chance at already having solved problems in your industry. Today, just describing your years of experience makes you look replicable by a 20 year old with a “Google machine” – and that 20 year old is a whole lot less expensive.
So you can continue feeling the frustration of ageism in your job search, by branding yourself by age and experience.
Or you can do something about it.
Your choice …
Phil Rosenberg is President of http://www.reCareered.com, a leading job search information website and gives complimentary job search webinars at http://ResumeWebinar.com. Phil also runs the Career Central group, one of Linkedin’s largest groups for job seekers and has built one of the 20 largest personal networks on Linkedin globally.