As the title of this post implies, experienced workers can present themselves as both seasoned and up-to-date. The two are not mutually exclusive. And in fact there might be some advantage to being both, for employers are getting current thinking along with the wisdom that often comes from longer experience.
How exactly does one show a prospective employer that you are this rare combination of hip and experienced?
Start with your initial approach - the cover letter and resume. Highlight your familiarity with the internet world and all things digital - as well as your interest in keeping current with technology and the marketplace, your curiosity and open mind, your adaptability and flexibility, and your willingness to keep learning and doing new things. These are the hallmarks of a "young" worker, regardless of chronological age or experience.
It's easy to immediately and visually convey your "young mind" to a prospective employer. Use the following techniques in your resume and cover letter to powerfully demonstrate your up-to-date thinking and current skills, as you list your double-digit years of employment on your resume.
1. Have an e-mail address as part of your contact information on your resume and in your cover letter.
Make sure you have enabled the e-mail address to be a hyperlink so the employer can actually send you an e-mail by clicking on that address. If you are using Word, this is done automatically as long as you go one space beyond the e-mail address. You'll know it's activated when the type color turns blue and the address gets underlined.
2. Add your LinkedIn Profile url to your resume's contact information.
The url is the web address for your public profile, and it is listed on your LinkedIn profile page as Public Profile. My public profile's url is http://www.linkedin.com/in/juliaerickson. I've used HTML to make it a hyperlink in this blog post, so you can see how it will look in your resume in this format.
You can use the entire url, or you can follow the same steps in the suggestion below to make the label "LinkedIn Profile" a hyperlink directly to that web address. It will look like this on your resume: LinkedIn Profile.
It should go without saying that you need to create a LinkedIn profile to which you can direct potential employers. Read my previous post on using LinkedIn to help your job search.
3. Make the names of your employers past and present into hyperlinks. Hyperlinks have a powerful visual impact; they scream "familiar with Internet!" and "comfortable with digital tools!" and "Modernista!" These are very good sentiments.
Here are the steps for doing that on a Word document.
* On your resume, highlight the name of an employer and copy it.
* Go to your web browser and whatever internet search engine you use, and paste the employer name into the search box. Click "search."
* When you see the search results, click on the correct home link for the employer and go to the home page of the site.
* At the top of the screen will be the http:// address for the employer's home page. Highlight and copy that address.
* Return to the Word document. On the top toolbar, click on the "Insert" command to see the options.
* When you see "hyperlink" on the menu, click on it. A new window will open up.
* Put your cursor on the box labeled "Address" and hit "Control" "V" (that's the Control Key followed by the letter V). This command will automatically enter the copied http:// website address.
* Hit "Enter" and the employer name will be transformed into a hyperlink to the employer's website, as indicated by the type turning blue and the name being underlined.
Repeat this for every employer. If you are a consultant and have listed some clients, create hyperlinks to the clients' websites. You don't have to make all the names hyperlinks, just a sprinkling of the most interesting, highest profile, or relevant to your search. In fact, having too many hyperlinks will distract a reader and may lead them not to focus on the substance of your resume. Only do hyperlinks where they will serve your purpose of focusing attention on your accomplishments and your consequent value to your next employer.
Here's what hyperlinks would look like in a resume (while the ink is orange here, you can still get the idea).
New York Restoration Project 2005-2006
[text of responsibilities and bullets with accomplishments]
City Harvest 1994-2005
[text of responsibilities and bullets with accomplishments]
A note on the "age" dilemma:
Many experienced workers are leery of putting down all their years of work and most positively shudder when asked when they graduated from college or graduate school. My philosophy is that you have to be comfortable with what you put in your resume; I simply provide information and ask questions to make sure you make an informed decision.
It can seem like you are inviting the reader to do the math and come up with your age. If you provide the information, it leaves fewer questions unanswered, yet can perhaps unconsciously bias the employer. And, like it or not, the "how old is this person" calculation pretty much always happens even though employers are not permitted to ask about age or discriminate on the basis of age.
If you choose not to include years of graduation or your very earliest jobs, understand that the reviewer will probably assume you are older. Younger people normally do not hesitate to include the year they received a degree.
Of course, without the year, they don't know exactly how old you are. Perhaps they will assume you are "too old" without a year; perhaps they won't.
The folks I talk with end up making their own decision about adding years to their degrees in the resume's education section. My sense is that adding the hyperlinks throughout your resume can counterbalance much (if not all) of the potential bias against interviewing and hiring a very experienced person.
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