On August 1, 2020 I was a panelist on “Successful Career Search After 50”, a LinkedIn live presentation.
The LinkedIn Live panel included two business leaders, in addition to myself. Oscar Garcia, CEO of Aurora Consulting and Dr. Olivia Herriford, Ph.D., Regional Director, Employer Engagement at the Bay Area Community College Consortium were on the panel with me. Tomoko Ha, Founder & Principal of TKO Consulting was our moderator. Oscar and Angelica Garcia ran the StreamYard virtual broadcast studio platform for us.
This post is a brief summary of the program. I encourage everyone to watch the one hour video. Contact any of us with your questions and comments. You need a LinkedIn account to view the video—that’s a great idea anyway for career advancement and networking.
The key takeaways from the program, in my view, are as follows:
- Have a strong online presence,
- Build a powerful senior-level network,
- Show you are current in your field,
- Use transferrable skills to switch industries,
- Create an accomplishment-based and current resume.
The theme that ran through the conversation, I think, was that it is important to project a modern and relevant image regardless of your age, industry, and career level.
Have a strong online presence.
Oscar Garcia pointed out that, in his opinion, it is important to have a strong online presence and personal brand. He told us that he has not used a resume in ten years because he has strong personal contacts.
Many of us, I have found, get interviews as a result of our contacts and our industry reputation, or personal brand, rather than through resume campaigns. You should be aware, though, that prospective employers may still want a resume that will pass through their applicant tracking system (ATS) successfully before they can officially offer you the job. This assures them you are in their job candidate database for compliance purposes.
Build a powerful senior-level network.
You will almost certainly be hired if you have the right contacts, according to Oscar. Specifically, Oscar said that there is a 90% chance you will be hired if an executive at the director level or higher refers you to the hiring manager.
Oscar built his senior-level network, in part, through his involvement with the Chamber of Commerce in his community. A good way to meet industry leaders, I’ve found is to be active in professional organizations. Many have switched to meetings on Zoom or similar platforms for the duration of the Pandemic, so it is easier than ever, in my opinion, to be active in relevant groups.
Show you are current in your field.
We agreed during our conversation that your resume and profile should demonstrate you are current in your field or industry. For example, we updated the terminology on a political campaign managers resume so she talked about “key contact identification,” a newer turn for “grassroots mobilization.”
A strategy I commonly employ to help job candidates appear up-to-date is to remove obsolete technologies from their resumes. Dr. Herriford pointed out that this can be tricky because many companies still employ “legacy” systems that rely on older software skills. For example, state unemployment benefit processing systems have been overrun in recent months, and are based on legacy technologies. She has developed a special “apprenticeship” program to help younger workers learn the older skills they need from retiring workers so they can work on these systems. Issues such as this make it incumbent on you, as a job seeker, I believe, to understand what technologies are being used in your industry and function.
Use transferrable skills to change industries.
Job-seekers can change industries, Oscar pointed out. It is important to research the skills needed in the industry you want to join and know how the new industry refers to the skill.
I experienced an example of this when transitioning from the federal government to the non-profit sector some years ago. We gave “briefings” in the public agency I worked for. The non-profit and private sector call similar meetings “presentations.”
Create an accomplishment-based and current resume.
When my turn to speak came, I told the panel that the most important thing you can do, regardless of your career level, is to develop an accomplishment-based resume and LinkedIn profile. In other words, for each recent job featured on resume and profile, discuss the business problems or opportunities you addressed, by taking what actions, to get what quantifiable business results. A surprising number of job-seekers discuss only their job descriptions, so your resume and profile will stand out from theirs.
You will find more detail on the accomplishment-based model here.
Additionally, we told the audience their resumes and LinkedIn profiles need not cover their entire 20-, 30–, or 40-year career. This is an issue we have covered in another recent blog post, so we will not be redundant here. Briefly, your resume and LinkedIn profile should include jobs you have had in the last 10 years. Your presentation should cover technical and business skills that are currently valued in the job market. Also, there is no need to show the date you received your college degrees unless you finished school recently.
Thanks to the panelists for contributing.
Last, but not least, I want to thank Oscar, Angelica, Olivia, and Tomoko for creating a great program. I feel honored to have been included on a panel of business leaders. As always, you may click here to arrange a complimentary appointment with me to discuss ways to minimize the potential for ageism on your resume and LinkedIn profile.
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