Let me summarize what you can do if you are a person of a certain age—maybe just over 30—and you want to find a job.
Prepare for your search in these ways:
- Look relevant to hiring managers.
That means you will do whatever you need to do your resume:
- Keep the resume to 2 pages or less.
- Add technical skills for the ATS. (Yes, I know this seems crazy. Do it anyway.)
- Show your value, especially with numbers for each job.
- Develop and use a target network to find people who will talk with you.
With a target network, you will find people who like you, and jobs you like. Network online and in person. Discover where those people with jobs go for meetings.
- Showcase your qualities, preferences, and non-technical skills.
As an older person, you might not have exactly the technical skill combination a potential hiring manager thinks they need. Instead, show how fast you learn and adapt. Show how you coach and collaborate. Show how you finish work so the organization can ship product.
- Create and practice the stories of your career. How have you solved problems in the past? What can you apply from the past to the present and future?
During your search:
- Be someone people want to spend time with.
Look clean and neat. Make sure you are groomed properly. I am always surprised I need to say this, and I do. The older we are, the less forgiving people are about our appearance.
- Practice networking, in-person and online.
You must leave your house to meet people in person. Meeting people in person is best for developing your target network connections, directly or indirectly. Also, develop loose connections online, as well as in person. Add more people to your network each day.
- Develop your loose connections. You are more likely to find a job via a loose connection than with a direct connection. Encourage younger people to connect with you. Use their connections to reach people in your target network.
- Practice interviewing. The best interviews are conversations. Practice your “let's meet for an informational interview” pitch. Practice telling the stories of your career so you can showcase your work to its best advantage.
Here are the parts to this series:
Read more in Manage Your Job Search.
The people in the hiring “sweet spot” have between two and 15 years of experience. Once you have more than 15 years of experience, you will experience some form of ageism. Learn to organize and prepare for your search, so you can find your next job fast.