Game On For The Older Unemployed

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Searching for a job as an older employee can be intimidating. It can feel like the deck is stacked against you, but if you take the right steps, there are jobs and employers seeking senior employees who can lead a company through difficult times.

Today's job hunt is more digital than ever, but job hunting basics still apply. Here are six steps that resulted in my landing a job after a five-month search.

1. LinkedIn Profile
Everything starts with LinkedIn. It has become so pervasive in job searches, it trumps the resume as a starting point. For several jobs, I first invited recruiters to view my profile before sending a resume. It always led to a connection or interview and started a personal conversation which immediately pulled my resume to the top of the pile.

LinkedIn does not replace a resume, but writing effective profiles for LinkedIn is great training for writing pithy resumes. Attending a free LinkedIn seminar early in my search proved critical for helping me rethink and maximize my profile. I then searched colleagues and competitors to pick up wording tips, and updated my photo with a professional picture.

2. The Resume
Even though it had only been three years since I last used my resume, I needed a complete rewrite to effectively market myself in the new job hunt. A coach re-schooled me on latest do's and don'ts. As critical as the resume is, I don't recommend paying for resume services as there are many free resources.

Job objectives long passé were already off my resume, but my summary was revised from a bulleted checklist to a paragraph summarizing my senior level capabilities. Earliest jobs were completely removed as latest wisdom says not to display jobs older than 10 years, lest you not only date yourself but appear too trained in older ways of working rather than modern techniques and technologies. Dates on my college degrees were removed to focus on my degrees rather than my age. Most importantly, in contrast to the summary, job descriptions changed from paragraphs to just one paragraph followed by bulleted lists showing measurable results for specific types of projects.

3. Resume Addendums
I invented a new technique called the Resume Addendum. Most of my career was spent in two industries. I had credentials in the other fields, but since my earlier jobs had been removed from the resume, they were now absent from the resume. I created two different Resume Addendums that highlighted these experiences. The one-page addendums had no dates, and only listed years of experience in various roles. It worked. My first interview and a few afterwards came from the addendums.

4. Job Listings
There are many job boards, but LinkedIn is the most important. Jobs on LinkedIn are real and timely whereas many job boards have dated listings. I ultimately saw the listing for the job I now hold on LinkedIn, but created a daily habit of checking several key boards.

5: Time Sensitivity
Whenever a job posted of interest I answered within 48 hours. The competition is so strong, that many jobs are taken down after one day. When my resume or profile resonated with the job, I frequently heard from recruiters through LinkedIn within hours if not days.

6. Quality Cover Letters
Cover letters are still key and quality trumps quantity. I wrote each cover letter specific to the posted job description. I had several standard experience bullet points, but chose 3-4 unique for each letter based on the job requirements. Each letter of the dozens sent out was unique and specific. It was a good day if one great tailored cover letter went out.