Experts offer suggestions to improve your chances of employment
By Deborah Jeanne Sergeant
If you’re 55 or older and looking for work, good luck. Local experts offer tips to improve your chances
Tips from Ginny Hronek, owner, Life Coach for Women, Rochester.
• “Use only relevant positions, talents and skills on the resume related to the job you’re looking for.
• “They don’t look at more than one page of the resume.
• “Don’t get too personal, not ‘I have two dogs’ and that kind of thing.
• “Use positive adjectives such as ‘promoted to’ and ‘designated as’ and ‘recognized as’ and you want to include any relevant awards or certificates.
• “If your industry disappeared, look for your transferable skills.
• “An employment agency is your best bet because they are the ones that have the pool of jobs.
• “In a virtual interview make sure the setting is appropriate. Put yourself in a room and shut the door.
• “Employers are looking for a warm, personable approach and a sense of humor, an ability to be lighthearted and that you take your job seriously.
• “Remember that it’s not about your needs, but the employer’s needs.”
Tips from Brian Harding, president, TES Staffing, Rochester.
• “Make yourself diverse. You need to be able to wear a lot of hats. That is how you create value. The day of doing one thing for an organization is done. Organizations are running lean and they need someone who can have a lot of balls in the air and are experts in a lot of areas.
• “With a skills-based resume, you have to elaborate on each position you’ve had. You list out your skills with the company and the years you’ve been with them and explain what you’ve done for the organization and how many hats you’ve worn and the areas you’ve touched.
• “Under ‘Education,’ leave off the year you graduated. That dates you. Maybe leave those early positions off and keep the last 15 years of experience on your resume.
• “If there are companies with good reputations, I’d go to their job openings to see if there’s anything that’s a good fit for me. Identify some companies you’d love to work for and see if there are postings.
• “Stay the course. Don’t give up. It’s all about timing.”
Tips from Daniel J. Troup, managing director, AdvantEdge Careers, Rochester.
• “I was in sales 30 years. It’s a sales cycle and you have to apply sales processes to it. The product you’re selling is yourself. Sales is about understanding your customer’s problem and pain point and providing the best solution. What are the challenges they’re facing and what is your value proposition? How can you align that to the company?
• “Keep yourself current on the most recent technology. Don’t talk about typing skills. Don’t list MS Office as a skill; that’s a given. Show proof you can work remotely. Can you use Zoom, Slack, and Microsoft Teams?
• “Eighty percent of jobs any time in the US are never advertised. If you spend all your time online, you’re fishing in a pool where only 20% of the fish are. You have to incorporate networking. Going online should be part of it, but what you have to invest is time. That’s your biggest investment. Invest it where you’ll get the greatest return. Referrals come through networking. Allocate the amount of time through your job search to networking.
• “Networking is not asking if you know of any open positions. Study the person’s profile and have a conversation. In about 20 minutes, talk about yourself for one minute. If you do it with enough people, if you have intellectual curiosity, and you have enough, and you maintain that network, you’ll end up with referrals.
• “LinkedIn is a way for individuals to begin to have more than an online representation of their resume, but a way to relate to business-related conversations and demonstrate your area of expertise. Potential people who could hire you could see your interest in posting and writing about your area of expertise. Ultimately, that can lead to opportunities.
• “Most interviewers — and I’ve been an interviewer — are lazy interviewers. We have a resume in front of us and we start everyone with ‘Tell me about yourself’ because it’s a friendly way to start an interview. If you have practiced your elevator pitch and aligned it for that company and their pain points, it’s a fastball right over home plate.”
Tips from Rob Statham, president, Pathlight Career Counseling, Rochester.
• “Customize the resume and cover letter for each job for which you’re applying. It seems to the employer that you’re not just throwing resumes out there.
• “Update your technology skills, depending upon your field. There’s so much online that is low-cost. You can take a course for $10. Some are free during the pandemic. The Department of Labor has a lot of free courses and webinars to learn and increase skills.
• “Avoid email addresses like AOL. Maybe update to Gmail. Include your LinkedIn.
• “Don’t pigeonhole yourself in one category. I’m thinking of people who have done one or two things in their career and think they need to do that same career. The transferable skills are what employers are looking for. Maybe you did marketing and you can take your skills to another field.
• “In the interview, be personable. All the jobs where I have been on a panel of four interviewing someone, when the interview is over, they ask each other, ‘Did you like that person?’ Soft skills matter.
• “If you know some you will interview it, go to LinkedIn and see what you can connect with. Be authentic with that connection. It has to be a true connection because people can spot a fake.
• “Never downplay your former positions. People will think ‘What will they say about my company?’ Don’t brag too much. One of the things people like is the humbleness about people.