Mature job-seekers face special challenges. It is common knowledge that younger employers are likely to hold several negative stereotypes relating to age. Perhaps the most prevalent of these preconceptions is that you lack the necessary technical skills for the job. There is, nevertheless, one surefire way to counteract this presumption. Moreover, it will provide you with two key factors for your success: credibility and visibility. A personal website will display both your technical skills and give you that all-important competitive edge.
You can build your credibility and your visibility as a thought leader in your field by designing and creating your own blog. These days, blogging is a relatively easy process that will dramatically increase your online presence. It also shows a certain level of technical savvy that employers like. (This can go a long way to dispel the stereotype that you -- as a jobseeker of maturity -- are technically inept.) Keep your website up-to-date and compelling by writing several posts in your area of specialty. Make them impressive and load them up with keywords and sought-after skills.
To ensure your writing will catch the notice of recruiters and hiring managers, use the job postings for your line of work as your primary research tool. You will find several skills and keywords appearing over and over again. This means that these particular talents are in high demand in today's market. Also make note of the order in which these skills are placed in the ads. Order is an indication of how highly they are valued by employers. You will also want to establish a Google Alert to keep you current on any developments in your field.
There are a number of websites (many free) that offer customizable templates with varying levels of difficulty. Here are a few to get you started:
And, as with the rest of your written materials, you will want to make certain your blog is as professional as possible. Select themes, fonts, and colors that are in line with the image you wish to project. Also remember to make it pleasing on the eye with liberal use of white space and bullets.
- You can boost your impact even further by adding one or more videos to your site.
- Keep your video(s) brief (no more than a few minutes).
- Introduce yourself and provide a three or four word statement about what you do.
- Use the keywords you've found in the job descriptions to create an attention-grabbing hook and highlight the fact you possess the sought-after skills that are in demand now.
- Add a few significant accomplishments, stressing the results you've achieved.
- Close by briefly recapping why you are uniquely qualified and adept at your line of work. Thank your audience for watching and let them know that you would appreciate any comments or feedback they might have.
You will also want to purchase the rights to your given name as the domain name for your website (e.g., www.yourname.com). You can register a domain name by using GoDaddy or a similar site. If your name is fairly common, you can usually obtain the online rights by adding a middle name or initial. If that doesn't work, the addition of a number or other distinguishing mark will often do. Then be certain that each of your online profiles uses that same version of your name. This will automatically build your search engine rankings.
However you choose to present yourself online, know that the information will become a permanent part of the Internet. It will be available to whoever might be searching under your name. Make sure you are presenting yourself professionally and in good taste at all times. It is no surprise that a majority of recruiters readily confess to rejecting applicants based upon questionable information they found online. They can and will eliminate you from their pool of applicants if they don't like what they see.
So, with the above in mind, get creative, think professionally and get ready to show prospective employers that you are a competent, technically proficient candidate. With your credibility and visibility underscored by having a personal website, you will gain a competitive edge and likely set yourself up to become applicant #1!
Mary Eileen Williams is a Nationally Board Certified Career Counselor with a Master's Degree in Career Development and twenty years' 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 even more 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!