What are the real reasons that make employers find a candidate attractive? Are applicants appealing because of the skills they bring to the position? Are they especially desirable as a result of the companies where they've worked, their educational background or the status of their job title? Perhaps their experience level is the differential that creates an impact on key decision makers?
Actually, all of these factors play a role in whether or not an employer will want to pursue a candidate. Each of them, after all, represents the substance of what the job-seeker has to offer. Yet, marketing gurus suggest that style can often times hold an even greater sway when it comes to the decision making process. As a savvy job-seeker, therefore, you will want to ensure that you are projecting a manner and style that are sure to attract potential employers.
Here are three ways you can step up your style and boost your "it" factor:
Take Charge of Your Attitude
The tenet, "Seek and Ye shall find," is never truer than when it comes to a job search. If you approach the marketplace believing you will be marginalized and overlooked simply because of your age, you will surely encounter what you believe to be true. Any signs of anger, resentment or depression -- understandable as these feelings may be -- are a giant turnoff to networking contacts and, more importantly, to potential employers.
So do whatever you can to keep your attitude positive. Assume that the self-help books are right when they say: what you focus on expands. Although it is a good idea to anticipate pitfalls so that you can address and overcome expected challenges, don't focus on barriers and roadblocks. If you do, you are guaranteed to find them ... over and over again. Yet, if you concentrate on your end goal, believe in your skills and the contributions you will bring to workplace and have the confidence to surmount obstacles, you are far more likely to succeed.
Show How You Are One of the Gang
One of the biggest factors hiring managers consider is whether or not a candidate will fit within their group. Companies, like people, have personalities and preferences. They value certain traits over others. You, therefore, want to do your research to determine their way of doing business, their mission statement and the goals they consider important.
Ask yourself how you and your personal style will fit within this framework. Be honest. Fit is a two-way street. You don't want to pretend or talk yourself into holding certain values and beliefs that are alien to you. A pretzel can only withstand so much pressure before it breaks to pieces -- so don't twist yourself into someone you are not.
If, however, you realize that you can contribute to the team with a sense of energy and personal satisfaction, go out of your way to let them know. Employers are looking for people who want to work for them. So stress your enthusiasm for the job and the company. Cite several truthful reasons illustrating why you want to work for the organization; how you will add value and your commitment to making a contribution for years to come.
Learn to Toot Your Own Horn
Get yourself psyched to win! Even though playing up your strengths may not come naturally to you, it's expected during a job search. This is not the time to be shy. You don't want to come across as a braggart, but you do want to display an inner confidence in the skills and experience you will bring to an organization.
Skills are your key selling points. Moreover, to be successful in your job search, it is helpful to consider yourself a "skills merchant." In the beginning, it may be difficult to speak to your skills with confidence. But you can learn to articulate your worth and added value with a little forethought and a bit of practice.
Use examples to show how you have used your abilities to save time, increase revenue, streamline processes, etc. And make certain you are highlighting the skills that are currently in demand. You can do this by perusing the postings for jobs in your area of specialty. You will find that certain skills come up over and over again. Stress these sought after skills and you will present yourself in a way that is sure to attract employers. In other words, market your skills (i.e., your substance) with style.
The "it" factor you exude will go a long way to ensuring your success: a positive attitude, demonstrating how you are a good fit with the team and a little horn tooting might just turn you into Candidate #1!
Mary Eileen Williams is a Nationally Board Certified Career Counselor with a Master's Degree in Career Development and twenty plus years of experience assisting midlife jobseekers to achieve satisfying careers. Her book, Land the Job You Love: 10 Surefire Strategies for Jobseekers Over 50, is a step-by-step guide that shows you how you can turn your age into an advantage and brand yourself for success. Updated in 2014, it's packed with critical information aimed at providing mature applicants with the tools they need to gain the edge over the competition and successfully navigate the modern job market. Visit her website at Feisty Side of Fifty.com and celebrate your sassy side!