The greatest single thing about the US is that if you add determination to imagination, anything that you really reach for is achievable. Imagination is easy. You can go to a museum, read a good book, go for a walk, people-watch at a cafe, look at a child's play...any of these activities can stimulate the imagination. So, let's take searching for work after 50 years old. (And keep in mind that at 50, much of the work force is already delegating you to the category of "senior".)
You are currently in a position that you see coming to an end. Either by your choice, or your employers choice. Or you run a small business and not doing as well as you'd like and so need to find employment so you can support your living. So you know that you need a new job. You search Monster, Careerbuilder and any site you can find promoting 50 plus hoping for hope. You submit your resume to tens upon tens, if not hundreds of employers, but you can't get a bite. And the reason you won't get a bite is two-fold.
Reason 1: You are competing against everyone looking for work in your skill and experience set. The 20, 30, 40, 50, (and yes) 60-somethings.
Reason 2: You are one of possibly several hundred applying for each position. Plus you are being vetted generally by an HR recruiter. Job descriptions have parameters laid out to help a recruiter decide who to take a deeper look at and who to pass on.
Today we'll talk a bit more in-depth about Reason 1. First, you need to find a way to get to the top of the recruiter/employer's list. The only thing that your resume shows is exactly what you put on it. If you have a mind-bogglingly fantastic resume, you'll stand out. If your resume is tweaked to reflect the actual job you are applying to, then it is more likely that you'll stand out more. That is why job search sites generally give you the opportunity to add in several versions of your resume or to upload your resume. Take a look at some of the sites. Gen Plus, Monster, Careerbuilder are three good sites to start with as they allow you customization with your resume. Monster and Careerbuilder are targeted more generally to the 20 - 40-something demographic. Gen Plus (our site) is niched to 50 plus. The internet has changed the way job search is done so you need to work within this medium to attract recruiters.
So, in order to get noticed in addition to applying for jobs, is to post your resume. Many recruiters mine these job sites looking for applicants that THEY can approach. If you get contacted by a recruiter who has searched for you, you have a much better chance of having a full phone interview and possibly an in person interview. Why? Because if they are mining the sites, it means they are not satisfied with who they found from their job posting.
How do you get mined? You need a fantasic resume. Plain and simple. At Gen Plus, you can do the online interview, which also adds to creating a quick first impression. Bottom line, take the time to find the right words to drive your resume to the head of the line. Take a look at some of our past blog articles on job search to get an idea of how to fashion a winning resume.
A great resume will also help you in your applications to available jobs. However, you need to add another component. A top notch cover letter. Something that, in the first paragraph, compells the recruiter to keep on reading. You MUST convey how your experience fits their need in your first paragraph. Do NOT attach your cover letter without also pasting it into the body copy of your email. You need to convince the recruiter, in that first glance, to look further, to your resume.
You must ALSO both attach your resume as a file to the email, but also cut and paste it into the body copy, following your cover letter. Think like a recruiter. Do you want to have to click, download and print? Nope. You want a quick read that entices the recruiter to put you into their print queue and their YES folder.
(Next column we'll look at working AROUND the internet -- so get some walking shoes.)