Over 40, over 50? Age discrimination may be against the law but it still happens. Here are 10 things you can do for that resume and your appearance to lessen it happening to you.
1. Omit your college graduation date. No one needs to know you did you undergrad in 1979.
2. Drop old jobs. If you have any positions listed prior to 1997 or even 2000, they don’t need to be on your resume.
3. Avoid writing in the 3rd person. “Mr. Smith is brilliant,” is straight from 1985.
4. Omit that photo. People will discriminate no matter how good you look.
5. Use updated terminology and avoid the obsolete. I still see “Personnel” (for HR), “data processing”, and “secretary" on resumes.
6. Use email for resumes. Paper resumes give your age away.
7. Use email for follow-up notes. Hand-written notes are not necessary and they are slow as the post office.
8. Dress well. Clothes still make the person. Even jeans and t-shirts need to be clean.
9. Go to the gym. Being overweight and out of shape adds years to your appearance. You may not be able to drop 20 pounds in a week, but a good work out can add a youthful glow and have a positive effect on your appearance.
10. Quit smoking. Employers want healthy people.
Good Monday Morning! For the start of this week, a reminder of 5 words or phrases employers cringe when they see on a resume OR “The Objective for today: “Don’t work too hard being a hard-worker striving for perfection in that challenging job in a growing company.” Hiring managers don’t want to see:
5 Things which add NO value to your resume and may even cause you to be rejected. Remember, if it doesn’t add value, don’t include it!
1. Every job you have ever had. I still see resumes with jobs going back 40 years. This dates you and most of these old jobs have nothing to do with the job you want. Avoid as the waiter job you had in high school adds little value to the Sr. PM position you want.
2. Dates you graduated from College (unless you are a recent Grad!) For everyone else, include your Degree, lose your dates as the reader may have a bias against younger or older candidates.
3. Your High School and High School Activities (unless you are a new Grad). Yes, I still see Project Managers, with Bachelor’s or Master’s Degrees with HS activities. Football team? Hmm...
4. Odd and sporadic volunteer experience. If you handed out plates of food to the homeless on Thanksgiving in 1982, you are probably not up for the “Mother Theresa Award of the Year”. This may appear as if you are groveling for sainthood.
5. “References Available upon Request.” Yes, from a legal standpoint, I need to check references. Have them ready but don't include the obvious!
1.“Because I need a job.” Well, we all need jobs! If I had a dollar for every candidate who told me this, I could retire to Tahiti! No, I did not hire any of them.
2.“Because the only way to get a raise in salary is to switch jobs.” This may be true in some cases but it’s not a compelling reason for a hiring manager to hire you! Next!
3.“Because your company has better benefits.” OK, now give me a reason to hire you!
4.“Because “Glass Door” said your company is a decent place to work.” Well, there are plenty of decent places….Decent?
5.And finally, “because I think I can do this job.” Yes, people have told me that they are pretty darn sure they can handle this job. Wow, well if you aren’t sure, then I surely am not going to take that chance.
Remember, these may all be honest answers to you but if you cannot speak to the value you bring to the position, the company, and personal and career growth, you are demonstrating a clear lack of preparedness. If you are lax in the interview process, you will be lax in your job duties.
More Things to Avoid in an Interview - the list that never dies!
A lot of these are second nature for mid to senior level professionals, but a gentle reminder is sometimes needed for all of us. Preparing is important and will give you a professional edge.
1. Bad-mouth your boss. It still happens. He may be a jerk, but that jerk, at least a couple of times, has turned out to be a friend of mine.
2. Show up unprepared. No pen? No paper? Silly questions about the size of the company? Your interview will be over quickly. Google the website, scour LinkedIn, just do your homework.
3. Focus on money. This happens way too much. While I will always discuss money up front, if there is no other motivation, the company and I will hire someone who is looking for more meaningful reasons.
4. Dress inappropriately. Dress the part. When in doubt, ask your mom or put on that suit.
5. Dress inappropriately, part II. For both men and women, no cleavage, shine your shoes, shave, cover tats, plug in your iron, put on a jacket (a suit jacket not a bowling jacket), and wear a smile.
Diversity and Inclusion – Martin Luther King Day
Want to remain competitive in a global marketplace? Hire Diversity and Include.
This is inspired from Inclusion training I received at Compuware years back. We had 12 people in a room and all received a card with 2 sentences typed on it. The task was to count the number of “Fs” on your card and then stand with your group of those with the same number. I was in the 7F group. There were 4 of us. The 2F group had one person; the 9F had 2. Most popular was the 6F group with 5 people. Then we were told we all had the exact number of Fs and we could change groups if we wanted to. We all reread our cards. One person changed to the next group but the rest of us were 100% sure that we were right in the number of Fs and the rest of the groups were wrong. The point here is that out of our racially diverse group with 6 men and 6 women, we all processed the exact same information differently and we were all wrong. There were 11 Fs on each card, and none of us saw all 11! (I neglected to count the “Fs” in “of, if, off...”)
So, today we are celebrating Martin Luther King Day. He is remembered for his peaceful but determined leadership and the dream of having all people of all races, colors, and religions accepted as equals in our great country. Yes, we are a diverse country and most people will tell you its one of our strengths.
Diversity may be our great first step in tapping into the strengths of our people but Inclusion is the next step in making sure everyone hired has a voice. We can hire all the smart people we can find, but if we don’t give them a chance to talk because they see 9Fs, we lose. And if we hire people just like us, we lose. Inclusion, at least from business perspective, is one of the most powerful tools an organization can possess. And it comes from the top.
Inclusion can be valuable because none of us process information and ideas, or even see and hear things exactly the same. This means the Introvert in a room of Extroverts should not be overlooked. Susan Cain’s book “Quiet, The Power of Introverts in a World that Cannot Stop Talking,” brings to light the value of people usually pushed aside for a noisy leader with shallow ideas. When this Introvert is given a chance to voice his or her ideas, they are most likely well thought-out, if divergent from the rest of the room.
Introversion, Dyslexia, and types of Autism (among others) bring brilliant minds with thought processes and social interactions a little different than some others. These people may not be as polished, articulate, or social as some, but their perspectives and ideas will continue to go untapped unless we hire and listen. Want to remain competitive in a global marketplace? Hire Diversity and Include.
A reminder of 10 Things to Avoid in an Interview - These still happen!
Want that Job? Here are 5 things to avoid adding to your Resume:
Sometimes HR and hiring managers inadvertently discriminate against applicants or find it difficult to contact them. To lesson chances of being tossed out with dozens of other great people, here are 5 things you may consider omitting on your resume:
Great! You are called by HR for a potentially great job! Remember, you are screening that company and position just as that caller is screening you. Don’t waste your time or theirs if the fit isn’t there. Do yourself a favor and avoid saying:
1. You have no idea of what you want to do next and give it no thought.
2. You don’t read the job descriptions for the jobs in which you send your resume (along with the 150 others applying.)
3. Don’t have a resume that speaks to the job (if you did read the job description!)
4. You don’t know how to answer a phone screen or 30 min phone interview questions (because you didn't read the job description OR are not qualified to begin with OR it's in Des Moines and you live in Syracuse.)
5. Your resume looks unprofessional, has “hippos, spelling errors, and uses; puntionation: incorrectly”. (I make sure this doesn't happen!)
A Professionally Resume Writer is a great option and will be able write a resume which will use Key Words to trip Applicant Tracking Systems and which will speak to the job you want, edits the extraneous information, and present you, the candidate in the best light. Professional advice and coaching is usually available and can help greatly. www.stand-out-resume.com is one which targets IT professionals and mid to senior level as well.