You were depending on your investments and 401k to see you through your golden years. But this economy pretty much wiped out your nest egg. Now there’s a real chance you may outlive your money. So you’ve decided to go back to work. A little voice inside your head keeps saying, “Are you nuts? You expect to land a job in this economy? Hey, wake up and smell the roses, you’re not 25 anymore.”
Sure, you’ve got a solid degree from a fine university. And you’ve got a mile-long resume that shows you’ve held some big positions during your working life. But in today’s youth-obsessed culture, companies want “under-30,” tech-educated workers they can get on the cheap. So the competition will be fierce, the odds are against you. So how can you even the odds? Some suggestions:
Edit down your resume. Jettison all job listings older than 10 years. Your resume should be no longer than two pages. Pare down job descriptions. Keep accomplishments short and succinct. Build up only the most current software and web tools you used. Leave off college graduation dates (they’ll find out eventually, but no use in putting it out there at this stage).
Become tech savvy. Familiarize yourself with the programs and systems today’s companies are using. Take a class if you have to. Buy or borrow the program from a younger friend or relative. Make it your own. Learn the acronyms of today’s tech speak. These days, you’ll need to be well versed in Powerpoint, Excel and Publisher, as well as the mobile technologies used in smart phones and Web 2.0 applications.
Network like a pro. Join LinkedIn and other online business networking groups. When submitting a photo of yourself, use a distant, full body shot, no close-ups, and dress young. Connect with pros in your field. Build a solid business profile, but keep in mind the caveats mentioned above in editing down your resume.
Be prepared to learn, not lecture. If you’re lucky enough to land an interview, do your homework on the company. Don’t assume that just because you may have worked in the industry many moons ago that you know all about the company and its products or services. Google the company. Dig deep and bring yourself up to speed on what they’re doing right now.
Stay focused during interviews. Remember, it’s not what the company can do for you, it’s what you can do for the company. Resist the urge to reminisce about what a rainmaker you were back when Ronald Reagan was president. That was then, this is now. The employer wants to know if you’re ready to hit the ground running with the systems, tools and pace of 2012. Can you keep up with the Young Turks who are moving at the speed of e-business? Do you have the “legs to lead” in this new millennium? Convince, don’t lecture.
Remember, you are a qualified, highly experienced professional. The job is yours to lose. If you have any suggestions, feel free to include them in the comments section below.