Looking for a job as an experienced 40+ candidate is hard! That news is bad (and obvious enough) but the worse news is that many of the job search tips you as an experienced, older candidate are receiving isn’t designed for you. They are designed for new grads or the 25-35 year old crowd.
Let me explain why these job search tips are bad for you with a few simple examples:
- “Selling” your experience on your cover letter, resume and as often as you can in an interview is not advice designed for someone with 15+ years of experience. It is advice for people with the little or enough experience. Not for people with “too much” experience.
- Listing your experience, all of your experience in chronological order on your resume is for people with little or enough experience. Not for people with lots of experience like you.
The even worse news is, if you have been using these job search tips, you have either been dramatically increasing your risk of being eliminated or more realistically getting yourself eliminated. Let’s not forget the small chance that you could end up with a bad job!
If you are not sure whether or not to believe, check for yourself. Go onto whatever job board and search jobs in your industry that are asking for 10+ years of experience. 80 – 90% of postings are asking for anywhere from 3 – 8 years of experience.
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The message you are sending when you use common job search tips by “bragging” that you have more experience that the person you will report to is… My goal is to “push you out” of your job to make room for myself.
The message you want to send is… I want to “push you UP” in your job and because I understand what you do and have helped you, you will bring me along with you. Look At that, a job search tip for people over 40!
It is a small shift, but an essential shift and I know you asking, “ but Corey, how do I make this shift?” Good question!
Here are 3 small job search tips I can offer you – a job seeker who is 40+. I would say they are simple, but they are not. To make the shift requires you to abandon much of what you have been doing in the past, stop thinking of yourself as just a “job seeker” and acknowledge that you have unique challenges and therefore need to take a unique approach.
Stop talking about “all” of your experience and start talking about your “relevant” experience and your knowledge of this particular job.
Stop talking about “how you can do whatever is needed” because you have “done it all” and start talking about how you understand the requirements of THIS job, how it affects the business and how you can “assist.”
Stop writing and saying anything that sounds like, “I have over 15 years of experience…” This only serves to get you eliminated. No one is hiring that statement or the person saying it, it’s too intimidating.
That is the start of the shift from “average” job seeker to job seeker over 40 years old. You have more experience and more to offer which equals a different set of challenges and requires a different approach.
If you are over 40, unemployed and have tried something different that worked for you, share it with everyone else. They need the help just like you did.