Just 12 months ago, I hadn’t been on an interview in 20 years. It showed. I completely choked during the first three interviews.
I continued on clueless through more intense screenings, tests and piranha panels until I rid myself of the weak resume, soft answers, and funeral attire to transform myself into the super candidate I am today.
What I’m about to share with you are the shifts I made in packaging myself in person and on paper that tripled my interviews and call backs in the past three months.
I don’t want you to crash and burn like I did in the beginning. And Lord knows if you’re over 45 you deserve an assist in the brutal interview process, which today feels like a trying out for American Idol instead of competing for a steady paycheck.
If you mimic what I do, I can almost always assure you that your resume will lead to a phone screening even when competing against 800 other candidates. It has for me.
And, today my phone interviews turn into face-to-face meetings, which 50% of the time or more put me in front of the president and executive committee for final round where I no longer choke. I close. You can do the same.
If you are a woman over 45 and looking for work or career advancement, this is a must read.
Resume Musts for 45 and Over Candidates
When I began my search more than a year ago, I began with one resume formatted in Microsoft Word. This was how I did it 20 years ago and I falsely believed it would work today. Wrong.
Develop at Least 3 Resumes
More than likely you will need at least three separate resumes. One focused on getting a top-tier position, one focused on getting a mid-level position, and one focused on a task-driven position (writer, admin, retail, and the like).
If you’ve been out of work or underemployed for a year or more, you’ll need several resumes and you’ll need to modify each often as to sing the tune the company you’re applying for wants to hear.
NOTE: In Part II of this blog series, I go into more detail how to format these resumes and what to include and omit.
Embed Key Words and Phrases in Your Resume
Most employers now use software to handle job applications called ATS (applicant tracking systems). In short, this means you can no longer count on a human to read between the lines and move you along in the process. Applicant tracking systems exist to eliminate candidates. Make sure you resume is keyword rich so you’ll be a contender.
If the job you’re applying for requires the knowledge of a certain software –- spell out this software’s name several times in your resume as well as its acronyms. If it requires an advanced degree, brings yours to the forefront. Whatever you edge is, spell it out clearly in your resume with measurable achievements you can back up.
Still confused? Look at the LinkedIn profiles of people in similar positions as the one you’re applying for. You’ll see sharp candidates who strategically sprinkle the necessary words, phrases and language that ATS’s are searching for. Mimic them to the nines.
Apply for the Jobs Somewhat in Your League
If your savings is gone and your mortgage is two months past due, I know there will be moments that you’ll just want to hit “instant apply” and knock through the list regardless of how beneath you the job appears. Don’t (even though I have and learned from it).
You’re wasting your time. Plus your ego will suffer for it in the end. Though you might slip in for an interview or two for a gig far beneath your capabilities, chances are Human Resources will kick you to the curb for being overqualified, pin you to the wall with screening questions about leaving the company once the economy springs back, tag you as a non-conformist because they can smell desperation. You get the gist. A backwards move smells fishy and they’re looking for veal in this market.
Come back Tuesday for Part II of this blog post where I’ll share how to format you resume, what to omit, and how to answer those pesky questions like “Where do you see yourself in 10 years?” Hint: Don’t say retired.
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Category: Career & Money