Job postings are riddled with skills and qualities that are necessary for filling a role and getting a job done. More and more, they are littered with adjectives like “experienced”, “fresh”, and “innovative” and ask for portfolios and references. While these qualifications help employers find good candidates, they also eliminate prospective candidates who could be just as great, if not better.
These qualifiers create a dichotomy for job seekers today. More experienced candidates don’t think they are “fresh” or “innovative” enough, while young seekers and recent college graduates shy away because they lack a portfolio or references. Though you don’t want to apply for a job unnecessarily, there are times when you need to ignore the job post and go with your gut — regardless of your age.
Young Job Seekers
Looking for your first job is hard – like, really hard. Your resume only fills half of a page, and you don’t have any real references that can vouch for your work ethic or ability to perform as a team player. As a young job seeker, you need to play up the qualities that you possess that can set you apart from more experienced job candidates.
Consider a creative resume to get the attention of hiring recruiters. Use the job interview to talk about your career goals as well as your lack of experience. Provide interview answers that express an interest in learning from more experienced employees as well as what you can bring to the table in terms of new ideas and innovation.
Your youth doesn’t have to be a setback. Rather, it can be your greatest asset. Play that angle, and you’ll be pulling up a chair to the conference room table in no time.
Older Job Seekers
The working world and job search process have changed rapidly in the last decade, and it may have been difficult for you to hang on. But what hasn’t changed is the need for employees who work hard and are willing to learn new tricks.
First, you need to invest in new skills. Now, that doesn’t mean going back to college. It simply requires that you take a few classes to become a little more tech savvy. With the “new age” tools and techniques and your past work experiences, you’ll be a force to be reckoned with during the job search and hiring process.
Also, follow trends. Stay up to date on what innovative companies in your industry are doing. Learn from them and use your prior experiences to determine how your team or company could do the same or build upon these ideas. It doesn’t hurt to follow trend setters outside of your company too. You never know when their ideas could translate to your industry as well.
Age is nothing but a number. Don’t let it hinder your job search; rather, use it to your advantage.
How else can your age be used to your advantage in today’s job search? Share with us in the comments below!