Category: Resume Tips


How to Gain a Little Protection From Ageism (Part 2)

In last week’s Part 1 post, I talked about the unfortunate reality of ageism that still occurs in the hiring process. I also talked about several things you can avoid on your resume to reduce your risk of age discrimination and increase your chances of landing an interview.

This week I want to share several ways to reduce your risk via your LinkedIn profile.  

What to Include on Your LinkedIn Profile

Your LinkedIn profile doesn’t have to, and nor should it, be just a repeat of your resume. There are several things you can include on a LinkedIn profile you can’t include on a resume. Do the following suggestions and you’ll convey the spark and energy you still have to offer an employer.

1. Talk about your future goals and show some personality!

Your resume only allows you to discuss your past work experience. But your LinkedIn profile also allows you to share your future professional goals. Your headline and summary section are the perfect places to do this.

Sharing your goals shows you still have a lot left to accomplish in your career and a lot to offer a company.

Your LinkedIn profile also allows you to show a little personality since you can use wording that paints a picture. Be yourself by including your passions, personal mission statement, and hobbies. Just make sure you remain professional in your descriptions.

While you should never write in first person on your resume, it’s better to write in first person on LinkedIn (at least in the summary) to be a little more personable. And so it doesn’t sound like you had someone else write it for you.

The LinkedIn profile is where readers of your resume go to learn more about you. Give them something more than just what’s on your resume!

2. Include the current buzz-words of your industry.

Sprinkle your industry’s current buzzwords throughout your descriptions in your summary and experience sections.

Not only will this make you appear up-to-date on the latest industry trends, it will also make you more searchable when recruiters do a keyword search on those terms. Your profile will likely pop up in their search results.

3. Share trending articles about trending ideas in your industry.

In addition to including your industry’s buzzwords in your profile, you can also show you’re up on the latest trends by posting articles about the current and future issues facing your industry.

You’ll not only want to post these articles in the general news feed, but also in the relevant groups where your industry’s recruiters are likely to be a member.

4. Join the right groups.

Speaking of LinkedIn groups, you want to make sure you join the right groups!

Recruiters can go to your profile and see which groups you’re in, so you’ll want to stay away from any groups with the words “mid-career” or “mid-life” in their name.

You’ll want to join more industry-related groups than you would job search groups. Being a member of a bunch of job search groups will scream desperation.

Instead, join the groups of the industry you’re in (or trying to transition to) since these groups often announce job openings within the industry. (To see jobs in groups, go to a group’s page and click on the “Jobs” tab to the right of the “Conversations” tab.)

This saves you time from having to sift through any job announcements you may not be interested in.

5. Include your updated skills.

Include your new skills, programs, platforms, and technologies you’ve been learning on your own time. (See #5 in Part 1.)

6. Include online courses.

LinkedIn offers a lot of online courses. So do MOOC (massive open online courses) sites like Coursera. These are great places to learn new methodologies and technologies in an affordable way. And many courses give you a badge to add to your LinkedIn profile once you’ve successfully completed them.

Listing these courses on your profile shows you’re constantly learning new things, you know how to use current technology, and you’re staying abreast of the latest knowledge.

7. Decide if you should include your photo or not.

If you look young for your age, or you have a photo from a few years ago that’s not obviously out-of-date (i.e. you’re not wearing out-of-style glasses frames), then definitely include it on your LinkedIn profile.

If you feel like you may be at risk of age discrimination based on your photo, you may decide not to include one. But you should know recruiters are also wary of profiles without a photo. In this case, you’ll need to decide for yourself which risk you’re willing to take.

Conclusion

You’ll never be able to completely eliminate your risk of ageism. But, by following the above suggestions, you’ll at least reduce your risk and increase your chances of getting an interview.

When you do land the interview, you’ll want to walk in with confidence and wow them with your competitive advantages by addressing their pain points and showing how you can be a problem solver for them.

To learn how, purchase my on-demand course Steps to Acing the Interview and Reducing Your Interview Anxiety.

LinkedIn

How to Gain a Little Protection From Ageism (Part 1)

While ageism is illegal in hiring processes, it unfortunately still happens to those over 40. Also unfortunately, there’s not a lot a job seeker can do to fight it.

My clients who’ve previously experienced age discrimination often say,

“If I could just get in the door for an interview I could really market my experience and show them I’m the right person for the job. I could show them how I’m an asset for their company instead of a liability.”

But much of the discrimination comes prior to the interview, usually at the first glance of the candidate’s resume or LinkedIn profile. This is when it’s hardest to prove or fight.

The timing of the discrimination makes it darn near impossible to advance to the interview where the candidate can really show his or her competitive advantages.

So, what can a 40+ candidate do (or not do) on his or her resume and LinkedIn profile to increase the chances of landing an interview?

Several things!

What to Avoid Doing on Your Resume

There are several mistakes older job seekers make on their resumes that quickly give away their age. These are mistakes you can easily avoid and therefore increase your chances of landing an interview.

1. Avoid using outdated contact methods.

If you still have an email address ending in aol.com or hotmail.com, this just screams over 40 (more like over 50)! Instead, create a Gmail account you can use just for your job search correspondence.

Also, don’t list both a landline and a cell phone in your contact info. Only include your cell phone.

You probably also don’t need to include your mailing address since most companies no longer send snail mail. Just your city and state is fine.

2. Avoid specifying exactly how many years of experience you have.

Announcing immediately in the profile summary exactly how many years of experience you have is not always a selling point. The only time it is a selling point is if you have the same amount of years of experience as the job ad requires.

But, if for example you have 20 years of experience for a job only requiring 15 years, you probably want to re-word your summary from “20 years of experience” to either “15+ years of experience” or “extensive experience.”

3. Avoid listing jobs from more than 10 years ago.

Many candidates want to show every job they’ve ever had, but employers really only need to see the last ten years of your experience.

If basing it on requirements like the one in the example above, adjust accordingly.

4. Avoid the outdated typing rule of two spaces between sentences.

If you’re over 40, you probably took typing in high school on a type writer. And you were probably taught to put two spaces between each sentence.

Well, this rule no longer applies since people no longer use typewriters (Google it if you think I’m wrong).

So break the habit now before you give away your age! Trust me, it’s not as hard of a habit to break as I thought it would be.

5. Avoid listing outdated (or obvious) technical skills.

That software program you learned at your old job which is no longer used anywhere else – leave it off!

Also, unless the job ad specifically states Microsoft Office as a must-have skill, don’t list it. At least not the programs EVERYONE uses, like Word or Outlook. Almost everyone has (and should have) these skills so they’re kind of “a given.”

And if you do feel like you need to include Microsoft Office, indicate your level of proficiency for applicable programs if you can honestly say you have “intermediate” or “advanced” proficiency.

Or name some of the advanced features you know how to use that will be useful in the potential job.

This will make you stand out from those who only list the program names.

Next, go and start learning some of the software and platforms required for the job you’re not already familiar with.

Many programs and platforms have free demos or online tutorials you can do right from your own computer. Start there and then play with them! Then, you can at least say you have “working knowledge” of those programs.

An example would be Slack, a platform many companies are now using as a team collaboration tool.

I have a Slack channel set up for me to communicate with my clients and for them to communicate with each other (both openly and privately) in one place.

By making this available for my clients, it gives those new to Slack the opportunity learn it and add it to their skillset.

6. Avoid listing your graduation dates.

You can take your graduation dates off your education if you’ve been out of school for at least 5 years.

There’s no need to have them on your resume. (And you definitely don’t want the hiring managers doing the math in their heads from your grad date since you’re trying to protect yourself from ageism.)

Just list all the other information about your education, and use the most up-to-date name of your institution. (For example, if your alma mater’s name changed from “_____ College” to “_____ University” after you graduated, change it on your resume.)

7. Avoid including your photo.

This advice isn’t just true for older candidates. It’s true for most candidates of all ages. While it’s okay and even encouraged to have a photo on your LinkedIn profile, it’s still not widely accepted on the resume.

This is true even though there are several online resume templates with a designated space for the candidate’s photo.

But, you can appear younger to employers by using one of these more modern looking templates (check out Canva) and just deleting the placeholder for your photo.

The templates found on Canva are good if the job is in an especially creative field where graphic resume designs are more appropriate. I would advise you not use these templates if you’re seeking employment in a more traditional or conservative industry.

How to Protect Yourself from Ageism, Part 2

But what about LinkedIn? Should you include a photo there? And how far back should you go on your experience in your profile?

Stay tuned for next week’s Part 2 post!

In the meantime, get more resume writing tips and advice when you purchase my on-demand course Resumes That Get You the Interview: Surprising Secrets to Getting Your Resume Noticed.

ageism

How to Overcome Questionable Gaps on Your Resume


“If someone hasn’t had a job in a while (let’s say a couple years), what, on the resume, would make you consider them for the job?”

This is a common question among job seekers with resume gaps. The following answer was originally published on Quora by investor and consultant, Bernie Klinder. He’s graciously allowed me to publish it here under a new headline and format.


Legitimate Reasons for Resume Gaps

Long gaps on resumes are a red flag for HR. 

It could mean you are covering up a reason for the gap, or that you’re just unemployable and that other employers have consistently passed you up.

But there are many legitimate reasons for a gap: 

  • raising children, 
  • taking care of a sick relative, 
  • or other personal reasons. 

I have a 2-year gap in my mid-30’s because I traveled the country after selling my business.


How to Address the Resume Gaps

You need to address the gaps, as openly and honestly as you can. 

The more obtuse you are, the more the hiring manager will think you’re hiding something.

You also need to show what you’ve done with that time, or at least the last few months to stay relevant in the marketplace. You need to show that your skills are still current.


Years ago, I interviewed a candidate that had been unemployed for over a year. I felt bad for him. 

But when I asked him what new skills he had learned in that period, he didn’t have an answer. 

There is a world of free information and training available at your fingertips, especially in information technology.

I would expect a candidate who hadn’t worked in several years to be able to demonstrate that they’ve taken the initiative to keep their skills up to date and maybe even learn something new. 

This can be accomplished through:

  • Industry certifications
  • LinkedIn Learning courses
  • MOOC’s (Massive Open Online Courses) (like the ones found on Coursera.org).  
  • College classes
  • Local community education classes
  • Anything that shows you’ve not just been sitting on your butt. 

Be able to talk about current or cutting edge industry trends and things in the news.

Always show interest in the hiring company. 

You have to demonstrate that your head is still in the game, and you’re ready to work!


Why Networking Helps

Ultimately, the hiring manager needs to know that you can hit the ground running and be ready to work day 1, and not “Oh, I’ve never used this version of the software before”, or I’ve never seen that technology before.”

I would also leverage your social network for referrals. 

Managers expect candidates from job boards and other online sources to be sketchy. They far prefer referrals from someone they know and trust.


Be Confident, Despite the Gaps

Above all, don’t beg or seem desperate — even if you are. 

The good employers will pass on you and the bad ones will take advantage of you. 

Be confident, have an attitude of “I got this, and I’m chomping at the bit to get back at it,” and you’ll stand out in a good way.


Thank you Bernie for sharing your honest feedback!

Lori


Should You Share Your Side Hustle on Your Resume?


As a career coach I often get the question, 

“Should I put my side hustle on my resume?” 

This question comes from a variety of clients. 

Sometimes it’s from clients who still have plans to turn their side hustle into a full-time gig, but in the meantime need to find employment to help fund that dream.

Sometimes it’s from clients who started their side hustle to keep them afloat during a lay off or temporary time of unemployment.

And sometimes it’s from clients who have their side hustle strictly as a hobby or a passion.

In fact, I previously wrote a similar post, Should I Share My Passions on My Resume?


Is It Relevant?

Just like in my previous post, the answer to whether you should put your side hustle on your resume can be either “yes” or “no”. Of course this depends upon your own unique situation.

The best way to answer the question is with a question. Always ask yourself, 

“Is it relevant?”

Is your side hustle relevant to the job for which you’re applying?

Or is it relevant to the skills needed for the job for which you’re applying?

Is it relevant to show you have the “soft skills” employers now seek? (I.e. curiosity, the ability to learn, the ability to take initiative, etc.)

Is it relevant to help you land your next client?


How Your Side Hustle Makes You Marketable

In today’s job market, side hustles are no longer seen just as employment gap fillers. 

In a recent article in Fast Company magazine, the CEO of Quizlet Matt Glotzbach says that by discussing your side hustle and other self-driven learning projects in an interview, you’ll show employers your ability to understand today’s technology and to learn new skills and subjects.

And this is what employers are currently looking for!

So if it’s important to discuss this type of work experience in the interview, why wouldn’t you include it on your resume? Especially if it’s relevant to the job or it demonstrates your transferable skills.


How to Market Your Side Hustle on Your Resume

Unfortunately, a lot of people miss this opportunity. That’s because they think a resume should still look the way it did when they conducted their first job search 20 years ago.

They assume they can only include their full-time paid work under the “Experience” section of their resume.

This simply is not true. 

If you created a side hustle for whatever reason, you can include it under the “Experience” section of your resume as well. Even if your side hustle hasn’t earned you a lot of money, you’ll want to include it for the new knowledge and skills you’ve gained from it! 

Don’t worry so much about how much money you’ve made. Instead focus on what you’ve accomplished in that time. This includes:

  • The skills you’ve gained.
  • The software programs and platforms you’ve learned.
  • How you’ve been able to build relationships with strategic partners.
  • The number of clients or customers you’ve gained in a short period of time.
  • The things your customers have recognized you for.
  • Customer satisfaction feedback.
  • Any funding you’ve been able to raise.

The same thing goes for volunteer work. If you’ve volunteered your talents to a cause that’s near and dear to you AND you’ve learned a new skill while doing so, you can still include this under your “Experience” section with the job title of “Volunteer” (or whatever official title the organization gives to their volunteers). 


Connecting The Dots

Including such experience on your resume, however, does require you sometimes to connect the dots for the reader. 

While it may be obvious to you how your skills transfer to the job at hand, it may not be so obvious to the reader of your resume. 

Therefore, you need to make sure your wording is clear about how your skills transfer over to the job. 

One way to do this is to use some of the same language from the job ad.


Practice Connecting the Dots

For example, I like to challenge my own resume writing skills. I take a job ad I see posted and write a resume that includes my own experience as an entrepreneur. I include how the skills I’ve gained from that and other experiences are relevant to the job.

Since I personally am not looking for a job, I don’t submit my resume. I just use the job ad as a way to practice connecting the dots for the reader. 

This sharpens my writing skills by helping me put myself in the reader’s shoes. Also it sharpens my skills in helping my clients do the same with their own resume.

In fact, just recently I saw a job ad for an E-Commerce Lead Generation Specialist with a stand up paddle board manufacturer. Many of the sales and marketing skills required for this job are ones I’ve learned from marketing my own career coaching services. 

My past speaking engagements also meet their requirements for someone with public speaking experience. And the fact that I have my own business meets their need for someone who’s a self-starter.

Not only that, my passion for stand up paddling and my previous side-hustle of teaching beginner standup paddle boarding lessons helps me understand the needs and desires of their target market. This also shows I’m immersed in the lifestyle they’re company promotes. 

I simply re-wrote my resume to address the top concerns listed in the job ad. Then I used similar language from the job ad to show how my experience is a good fit for this specific position. 

It’s a good thing to practice even when you’re not looking for a job. By doing this simple exercise it will teach you how to write better marketing copy to your unique audience, no matter what kind of work you do.


For more resume writing tips, check out my on-demand video program Resumes That Get You the Interview: Surprising Secrets to Getting Your Resume Noticed.

side hustle on your resume

What You Need to Know to Ensure A Successful Career


As both a career coach and a creative thinker, I’m always brainstorming ways to help my clients be successful in their careers with unique and out-of-the-box strategies.

It’s important to be innovative and unconventional when competition for opportunities is fierce.

It’s the only way to get the attention from the right audience (those who have the opportunities to offer) and to stand out from the competition in a good way.

That’s why I’ve shared posts like:


However, there is some career advice that stands the test of time, but only when it’s put into practice.

The problem is, some people still don’t even know about this timeless advice.

And even if they do, they fail to implement it and then wonder why they’re not having the success they’d like to have in their careers.

Don’t be one of these people!


Career Advice That Never Goes Out of Style

To have a successful career, you have to always work at your career, even when you think your job is secure. (Understand that it rarely is!)

So what is the best course of action and best use of your time? Following these career success strategies that never goes out of style!


1. Keep your resume updated every 6 months, even when you’re not looking for another job.

It’s a lot easier to remember what you’ve done in the past six months than in the past six years.

By then it will be nearly impossible to remember how you impacted the company’s bottom line with each project you worked on.

So, every six months, take an inventory of your most recent on-the-job accomplishments.

Ask yourself how each of your duties, ideas, or efforts made an impact on the bottom line.

  • Did they increase profit or revenue? By how much?
  • Did they decrease spending? By what percentage?
  • Did they save man hours? How does that translate to dollars saved?
  • Did they increase customer satisfaction or decrease customer complaints? By what percentage?
  • Did they make processes more efficient? How much time did this save?
  • Did they boost staff morale? How much did productivity increase with this boost?

Add your accomplishments to your resume each time you update it.

If you do this, you’ll be prepared for three possible scenarios:

  1. When you’re up for a promotion.
  2. When you’re ready to ask for a pay raise.
  3. Or when you need to look for a new job.

There have been times when I’ve been asked for a copy of my resume when I wasn’t even looking for a job, like the times I’ve been hired for a speaking engagement.

When that happens, I’m always glad I’ve got something up-to-date to send them.

(For more details on updating your resume, see my post Why You Should Update Your Resume Every 6 Months.)


2. Find a mentor. 

You should always pinpoint someone in your industry or company you aspire to be like and get to know and learn from that person.

Also, a mentor is something you can negotiate for when you’re offered a job and are negotiating salary and perks.

Asking for a mentor makes you look good because it shows your initiative to learn. It’s a perk that doesn’t cost the company any additional money, and you’ll gain priceless lessons and advice.


3. Serve on committees that match your interests. 

Every company or organization has various committees that need people from different departments to serve on.

Find one that matches your interests and dedicate a reasonable amount of time to it (1 to 4 hours per month).

Doing this will get you out of your daily routine and your everyday surroundings, introduce you to new people in other departments, help you develop your soft skills, and build your resume.

For instance, I have an interest in both sports and international travel.

When I worked in the career center at a university back in North Carolina, I volunteered to serve on a committee that initiated the athletic department’s implementation of the NCAA’s life skills program for college athletes.

I also represented the University of North Carolina’s Exchange Program and served on the Australia Exchange Student sub-committee.

And when I worked in the career center at Vanderbilt University, I partnered with both the Study Abroad Office and the Athletics Department to provide presentations to their students on how to market their unique collegiate experiences to potential employers.

These experiences enriched my career because I got to work with others in areas that fascinated me and I got to develop skills in public speaking and program development.


4. Take advantage of professional development opportunities offered by your employer.

This can include professional association memberships, conferences, in-house professional development programs, etc.

These opportunities also help you build your knowledge, skills, resume, and network.

In fact, there’s a company here in the Nashville that’s hired me to present my program on personal branding to several of their employees.

It says a lot about a company, its culture, and its dedication to the holistic development of their staff to offer such programs to their employees on the company’s dime.

So if your company offers it, take advantage of it of the free self-improvement!


5. Always build your network and maintain professional relationships, even when you’re not looking for a job. 

You’ll benefit from professional relationships whether you stay within the same field throughout your career or if you change industries or start your own business.

And because relationship building takes time, the sooner you start building and maintaining your professional relationships, the more your connections will be willing to assist you when you find yourself in need of their help.

But you have to be realistic about networking. While I’ve had some professional relationships that resulted in immediate career benefits, most have taken years of investment and being of assistance on my part before I fully experienced the benefits.


6. Prepare for a layoff, even if you don’t think one will happen

This goes hand-in-hand with #1 and #5.

You don’t want to find yourself suddenly without a job and having to scramble to write a resume because it’s been 15 years since you’ve last had to write one.

And you don’t want to have any awkwardness when reaching out to your contacts because it’s been WAY too long since you last spoke with them.

Instead, you want to always be prepared with the tools needed to find your next opportunity when the need arises.

Other suggestions to prepare for a layoff:

  • Always have a few months worth of expenses saved up.
  • Develop your transferable skills and your soft skills (i.e. communication skills, presentation/public speaking skills, interpersonal skills, etc.).
  • Develop the skills of an entrepreneur in case you have to (or desire to) work for yourself for a while.

Yes, it’s easier to be short-sighted and just do your job, focusing on the bare minimum and most immediate items on your to-do list.

But investing time and energy into the above strategies will lead to long-term success in your career and will pay off in spades down the road!

If you need help to ensure success in your career, sign up for a complimentary initial consultation by completing the paNASH intake form.

successful career