Archive for January, 2014

4 Résumé Tips For Older Workers

Thursday, January 23rd, 2014

Looking to launch a second career? Follow these tips to revitalize your résumé

Every year, millions of Americans over age 55 happily choose to retire. But whether it’s due to a lack of savings or a desire to stay active, many others remain in the workforce, and their numbers are growing: In 2012, 40.6 percent of people age 55 and older considered themselves to be in the labor force, according to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

With more and more older workers looking to stay in or re-enter the workforce with a second career, it is important to make sure your résumé highlights all the experience and passion you have to offer. With that in mind, here are some tips to make sure your résumé is up to current standards:

1. Emphasize your relevant job skills. If you’re moving into a new sector, it’s really important to highlight transferable skills. Although seasoned workers may have years of experience in one field, it is important to play up your ability to seamlessly make the leap into another, and emphasize any new training or experience. If you’ve done any retraining or recent education, put that prominently, and really highlight it because it shows you’re refreshing your skills … A shiny new credential is the great equalizer if you feel like in other ways you may be disadvantaged by your age.

Don’t be afraid to draw from experiences that may come from volunteering or serving outside the workplace. If the most relevant experience or the most recent experience you’ve had for the work you want to do is in a volunteer or pro bono capacity, just write that. Write that up as you would write any other work experience. Describe your contributions and responsibilities in a way that really exemplifies why that work makes you more marketable for doing that same kind of activity in a paid context.

2. Dance around dates. Many older workers clutter their résumés with decades of prior experience. Instead of relying on your early work history, stress your most recent and relevant professional experience. You really don’t want to list jobs that are back in the 1980s or 1990s so much.

Instead, list relevant work experience from the past decade. If you need to list anything further back – say, from 15 or 20 years ago – try including a “previous work experience” section that lists the company and job title without dates.

Or kick off your résumé with a brief narrative or summary of your qualifications. Employers often don’t really care what you did 25 or 30 years ago. But if that happens to be the most relevant work that you do, your challenge is to find a way to feature that prominently, and one of the best ways to do that is up in the top in a summary. It’s a way to encapsulate a long period of experience and really highlight the relevant pieces of it … even though it was quite a long time ago.

3. Ditch outdated phrases. Thoughtfully prepare and age-proof the job descriptions on your résumé. Be very careful about checking your choice of words and the language that you’re using. As an example of this, if someone started their career way back when in HR and at the time, they were director of personnel and if they put that on a résumé now, it would completely date them … People talk in terms of ‘talent acquisition’ now. So pay attention to your word usage.

Tailor your language by looking at the company’s job posting or list of qualifications. Figure out what that company is looking for, and then use phrases and terminology in their ad to describe what you’ve done. Streamline your language, replacing clunky phrases like “duties included” or “responsible for” with active verbs that showcase your abilities, and nix the tried-and-true objective statement because that’s kind of focused on what you want versus what you have to offer. Instead, use a summary of qualifications or a profile to open the résumé and really highlight your value proposition – what it is that you have that really would be valuable to the next employer.

4. Reformat. The most important thing to keep in mind is that your résumé just needs to look like a résumé from 2014. Even your font choices could inadvertently reveal your age. For example, Times New Roman is certainly OK, and it’s acceptable standard font on résumés, but you could go with something that’s a little bit more modern, too.

Stick to the traditional education and experience format, but make sure your résumé can lead potential employers to your online presence. Include links to your LinkedIn profile, and indicate whether you’re active on social media, such as Google Plus or Twitter. If that’s part of your profile, that’s a good thing to put on your résumé, especially if you’re worried about ageism issues. You should be investing in your LinkedIn profile as much as or more than you are investing in an old-style résumé … Make sure that it shows you’re fluent with the way people are finding work today.

Original from Huffington Post

Resolutions for Your 2014 Job Search

Thursday, January 9th, 2014

A new year gives you the opportunity to renew your career goals. Daydreaming about a new career or landing your ideal job might be based on good intentions, but without a plan, dreaming about a new start is like wishing for things to happen.

Resolutions that stick begin with clear goals and measurable actions. The clearer your goal, the easier it is to visualize it happening and your chances of reaching them increase substantially if you start with small, measurable steps.

You may want to take a second look at the significance of planning. According to one prominent study from the University of Missouri, professor Daniel Turban and chair of the Department of Management found that successful job candidates benefit from planning.

“Thinking about, acting on, and reflecting upon a plan were important early in the job search, while having positive emotions were important later in the job search,” Turban said.

Setting new career resolutions begins with awareness of what you want to achieve in 2014. Here are 10 New Year’s resolutions to consider when planning a career move:

Know your interests before you search.

List your core skills and decide on which ones you want to increase; strengthen your resume and seek guidance on rebranding your online and offline presence.

Take risks in meeting colleagues or new contacts to develop rapport-building skills.

Strengthen your LinkedIn profile and use it consistently, joining groups and contributing to active conversations.

Break out of your same routine by doing something new each day.

Make wise use of your time with job search activities that are productive, reviewing your progress weekly.

Keep a journal of your career transition, noting key learning points and positive returns.

Practice the art of follow-up and make it a habit to follow up on information you receive.

Focus on where you are going, not where you have been.

Surround yourself with people who believe in you and who are supportive.

Your career goals are obtainable if you make a commitment to work toward reaching them. The key is keeping your expectations in line and believing that every major goal starts with a series of steps.

Consider incorporating these 10 resolutions to your job search this year and see what happens.