In the past, career paths were pretty clear; you started somewhere at the bottom and slowly worked your way to the top or simply stayed in a desired position.
To show ten plus or even twenty years of career background with one employer was pretty normal. This is more and more a feature of the past as the employment world is constantly changing. Today’s job seekers and hiring managers are becoming increasingly accustomed to short term stays with many businesses and wide-ranging careers across a variety of business sizes.
That is all good and fine if you are a Gen Y or Millennial jobseeker but it creates a number of challenges if you have more than 10 years’ experience in a single role or similar roles in one company and find yourself seeking a new role.
The most urgent challenge will be your resume. Not only will it appear much thinner than other applicants, you will likely not be up to scratch in actually writing a resume the way it is required today. In theory, you are likely to be a really strong candidate but if you’re out of practice in drafting application documents, you may find it difficult to demonstrate that. It starts with simple challenges like trying to condense 20 years’ experience into a few bullet points or drafting the key buzzwords that convey your role(s) to ensure that your document focusses on your successes rather than trying to write an exhaustive list.
No Interviewing Experience
Interviewing successfully is a skill in itself and, like anything in life, requires practice. I am always surprised how many candidates believe that they can just “wing it”. If you haven’t interviewed for a long time, you will need to prepare your answers in advance. You should work through your resume and a few standard interview questions and plan and practise how you would deliver answers in an interview. Ideally you should do this in front of a mirror or camera, or speak to a professional about doing a mock interview.
Leverage your contacts
Experience is a valuable asset but you will also have to build up a strong list of industry contacts and engage via social media tools. Now is the time to call in favours or arrange a chat with an old co-worker or manager who can help you to identify opportunities. Jobs that require vast experience aren’t as widely advertised as entry level roles, so prepare yourself to do some digging to find your next post.
Show that you’re a learner
I am sure you have noticed that technology regularly changes the way we work and it’s therefore inevitable that switched-on jobseekers at every level change with it. If you are re-entering the jobs market after 20 years there may be new skills or competencies you need to add to make yourself a more attractive candidate to modern companies. Consider the possibility of an internship or other work done in return for learning, or doing some targeted self-learning or learning through an educational institution. Another option is utilising job search tools such as Adage or our services here at TheJobSearchCoach. That may seems like a step down after a long career, but it is something that helps vs. wasting valuable time and struggling to find suitable options at all.
More than one way to use your knowledge
You may find that you don’t need to enter a new role at all. If you haven’t noticed it yet, check out the world of ever growing startup businesses in your area, especially the ones in the tech sector. Your years of corporate knowledge could be invaluable to small and startup businesses who are just finding their feet. If you have that knowledge you could provide value as a third party contractor or consultant.
Looking for a new role is challenging no matter how much experience you have. The key is to make sure you understand your experience, work on your interview preparation and leverage the assets you have at your disposal.
If all of it is too daunting or frustrating seek professional help, but don’t waste time doing the same old thing over and over again. Most importantly, remember to hunt wisely!