Boomers face a new kind of job market

The number of baby boomers who are looking for jobs today keeps growing. Which is why we think this piece by executive search veteran David Kushner of Chevy Chase, Maryland, might be valuable. We are facing a new kind of job market, and we need to understand everything about it.

Several of my fellow boomer friends are actively seeking new positions and have asked for advice since I have done executive searches. In each case, the first thing I tell them is, they need to think differently about the employment marketplace they will be facing. Although issues related to a candidate’s age and level of experience in a “younger market” are not legally to be considered, anyone who has been engaged in a search process knows that these are hidden yet significant factors they will have to deal with.

KushnerSo here are a few tips I offer:

  • First, be ready to tell “your story,” which cannot be a litany of jobs or accomplishments. People want to know who you are. Your story will require lots of advance attention and practice and is not an “off the cuff” matter.
  • Focus your resume on your accomplishments while keeping it concise; extensive careers don’t easily translate into two or three pages of text, so you must be a tough editor.
  • Separately listing positions from more than 15 years ago is not recommended. Consider adding a summary paragraph to capture the specific value of your previous experience (beyond 15 years) that applies for this new position.
  • Be attentive to the changes that have taken place regarding drafting resumes, and use appropriate terminology in a way that will not “age you.”
  • Resumes should be done in an easy-to-read and consistent font style. Avoid using colors or extensive bolding or italicizing.
  • Careful attention to formatting helps present you in a favorable manner and may allow you to get more information in the document.
  • Know your prospective audience and dress accordingly for face-to-face interviews. An up-to-date wardrobe is still an important part of your visual presentation strategy.
  • Research what the office or organizational culture is for the group you hope to join and meld that into your overall presentation style, both in the resume and in your attire and demeanor.
  • For boomer candidates, careful attention to personal grooming is critical. Look professional and present a vibrant image regardless of whether you are male or female. I find the addition of color to an outfit is distinctive … but do so within bounds.
  • Take care during your presentation or response to questions to avoid overly lengthy statements — especially comments that refer to accomplishments that took place early in your career which might not be understood by younger interviewers.

Preparation and practice will help distinguish you from others. Help them feel they want to add you to their team.

Follow David Kushner online.

2 Comments

  1. Everyone has had to rethink Job Search. The Market and the logistics are altering all the time. Keeping up with the changes is any job seekers mission.

  2. And do not let your age be a factor in not applying for work. After being out of the job market for a few years I thought my gray hair would be a factor. It wasn’t. Aced the first interview I got and worked right away. The job didn’t work out (lousy boss but that would be a whole blog story of its own), but I know my age is not a factor in finding work, my experience gets me in the door and its up to me in how I close that interview.

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