Age doesn’t matter… It shouldn’t!


In a recent conversation with a close friend of mine, he commented that with age, everything seem to take more time.

It could be true in many ways. Like I can’t run as fast as I used to, but I was never fast to begin with.

However, he was referring to his job search, and how the many people he spoke with were politely turning him away. As much as he liked to believe that it’s due to his experience, but it is hard to imagine how a veteran like himself can be faulted for having too much or too little experience in something that he’s spent his whole life in.

As much as we tried to look away from conveniently attributing the lack of success to age, the signs were clear, and we ended up talking about the differences in approaching a job search.

I like to think that age’s got nothing to do with it. Thinking back, I’ve hired matured candidates, and one of things I’ve noticed is an immense amount of experience in their CV, which got me excited. It’s somewhat like finding a candidate that can do (or had done) practically everything we asked for in the JD.

As we talked about his job search adventures, we started listing out some very interesting observations and tips. While these are some generic job search tips, but my friend who’s a matured job seeker still found it very useful!

1) Chin up and keep the morale high
The truth is, regardless of age, a proper job search process will definitely take time. Yes, there are cases where the process is short. However, as you are looking to invest your next few years with an organisation, I’m sure you will also be looking to research and pick the best fit.

Thus, be prepared for a long process, and if something comes along sooner, it’s a bonus.

2) Leverage on technology
There are a lot of resources online. Such as Linkedin and Glassdoor just to name a few. A well put together online profile attracts recruiters. Some of the senior executives I know put in effort in making sure that their profile stays current and relevant.

Make use of the job alerts to keep you posted on what job’s available, so you don’t have to track it religiously.

3) Network!
It is an open secret that one of the most effective ways to land a job is through your professional network. Don’t worry if it’s not very big to begin with, work with something that you’re comfortable with.

From time to time, there will be networking sessions and conferences that is relevant to your industry and field of work. These are some of the best places to meet new people professionally.

Personally, I find Linkedin a good way to expand my network. You can start by joining groups and participating in some discussions.

Last buy not least, taking an online MOOC (Massive Open Online Course) course and participating in the discussion forums could be an interesting way to meet people of similar interest. You end up learning something new and useful in the process. I did various programs with Coursera and found it very useful.

4) Know where the jobs are
According to a survey by JobVite on Social Recruiting, 94% of recruiters use or plan to use social media in their recruitment efforts and 78% of recruiters have made a hire through social media.

Increasingly, recruiters are moving towards recruiting via social media.

This doesn’t mean that more traditional channels such as newspaper, and online job boards doesn’t work anymore. It just means that you probably find more jobs via the social media platforms.

5) What do you really want to do?
A lot of candidates I talk to seemed to be able to do a wide range of jobs. Thinking back, when you’ve been working for so many years, I can see how that could be the case.

While it is good to sound versatile, and able to take on a wide variety of tasks, sometimes, it can work against you. You can either come across as someone who doesn’t know what you want, a jack of all trade or just over qualified for the role.

A savvy candidate would first seek to understand what the role entails and speak specifically to the role and its requirements.

Having said that, being specific doesn’t mean you need to sell yourself short. You can pick up specific segment of your experience to emphasis and elaborate, addressing the specific job requirements.

I wish you all the best in your job search.

Cheers

Eric Wong

Eric Wong is Head of Talent Acquisition & Development (APAC) at Polycom, and blogs about how video collaboration can benefit the HR function on Polycom’s “The View from APAC”. Connect with him on Linkedin or follow him on Twitter @ErickyWong.

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