Saturday, July 11, 2015

Resume Blues

When was the last time you took a close look at your own resume? Should you update it? Should you delete information such as extracurricular activities or awards? If you list too many accomplishments, does it automatically make you overqualified? And the more dates you put on it, the easier potential employers can decipher your age and then age discriminate (sure it is illegal but we all know it happens). Looking at dozens of my post 50 friends who can't find jobs in their professional fields of engineering, medicine, architecture, and education, I can attest that yes, employers openly discriminate against age. Hey, who wants age and experience when you can hire a twenty year old with a bouncing bust line and wrinkle free face for half the salary?  What a sad world we live in. We worship youth and beauty but scoff at experience and wisdom. 

Does your resume give the year you graduated from college? Delete it. Only give information for the last ten years of your professional life. Delete any information older than this including military history, hobbies, and others. The only exception is if you are a writer and you need to list your major book or article publications. Secondly, consider hiring a professional resume writer to give it a complete update. A new trend is virtual resumes where individuals start websites with their name and put up self-videos giving a five-minute account of their experience and qualifications. I have mixed feelings about these. If the person looks good on camera and has a dynamic speaking voice these are great. However, if they need to update their look as well as their speaking habits, these virtual resumes are also job killers.

Are you over 40? 50? You can't change your face or hairline but you can update your attitude and wardrobe. When was the last time you bought a new outfit for work? When you talk to people, do you smile and make positive affirmative statements? Face it: with age comes a self talk that tells us we are experts and that everyone should just listen to us and follow us. However, if you don't impart a positive energy or impression on others, you are killing your own career prospects. Age is part of it but your attitude is the real problem. 

Job interviewing or simple conversation coaching can help you reflect on how you speak and how you come across to others. This conversation coaching is a new idea I have started using with clients who technically don't need to do job interviewing but they are having difficulties connecting with other people. The idea actually came from my ex-husband. As he was brilliant, it made no sense why he had so many people problems. Then through a decade of marriage, I came to understand that it was how he talked to people and his inability to connect with them on a personal level for whatever reason that was his true handicap. Over time, I evolved a series of exercises that can help coaching clients to become aware of their own impression they make on others and how to evolve out of the negative aspects and to add more positive traits to their speaking and communication style.

Your resume is not just the piece of paper that has your work history on it. YOU are your resume. You are your own best sales agent. Update the resume. Update your communication strategy, and then you will see drastic changes in your professional life. Realize age is a positive asset regardless of what the contemporary ideas might dictate. And if all else fails, maybe it is time for you to launch your own business. Whatever you decide, make sure you constantly are adjusting your attitude and self-reflection to be the best it can be regardless of the other factors in your life.  You are one of a kind. Remember that!