14 Aug Is your extensive experience killing your search?
We serve a broad client base representing multiple demographics across gender, race, culture and age. Job-seeking clients come with a variety of barriers to employment, diverse backgrounds and experiences and always looking for that magic bullet to land the job.
Questions we’re often asked are:
- How do I position myself so that an employer can see what skills I bring to the workplace and my age is not a barrier?
- How do I share my extensive experience when I may not have the requested education or degree?
- How do I address being told I’m overqualified for the position I’m applying for?
Let’s address them here.
Age before beauty? How about value before age?
Most organizations have multiple generations working in the workplace and clients sometimes express frustration about interviewing with a person who is much younger than they are. Some have shared stories about encountering ageism when job-searching and feeling misunderstood or unappreciated for the skills they can bring to the workplace. Like it or not, right or wrong, some recruiters may look at your resume to attempt to figure out your age.
A well-written resume can convince an employer to invite you for an interview. As a general rule, your resume should be no more than two pages. It should show only the most recent 10 to 15 years of work experience and offer a simple and streamlined format. Omit college graduation dates and avoid words such as “seasoned” or “mature.” Forget about being creative; instead, mimic the keywords in the job description as closely as possible.
When interviewing, speak to your flexibility, collaborative nature and ability to adapt well to change. Interviewers want to hear what problems you can solve; help them to see specifically what issues they face that your extensive experience can positively address!
What’s your degree?
Some clients have also shared that despite possessing sharp skills and deep industry knowledge that make them strong candidates for job opportunities, the lack of education or certifications can be a stumbling block for sealing the deal. But confidence in the skills you can offer the organization can successfully help overcome this barrier.
Identify your transferable skills. Even if you don’t have the degree, you can highlight the skill set. Using the “T” cover letter format focuses your skill sets and/or experience to match the job requirements.
Sick of hearing you’re overqualified?
Job-seekers who have extensive career backgrounds and are looking to switch fields or desire less-demanding roles may have to address the perception that they’re overqualified for the role they’re applying for. Trim your resume to offer only the skills and experiences that are relevant for the open position. Tell the interviewer why you’re truly passionate about the job.
Before salary negotiations, do your research to ensure you have – and set – realistic expectations on what the job is worth. O*NET, Salary.com and NCWorks.gov are three free resources you can use.
Don’t let your “extensive experience” in your field kill your search: use it to your advantage to score your next dream job or career!
Feel like you’re facing ageism in the job search? Need some help revamping your resume to highlight your skills and experience without shining that light on your age? Check the events calendar on NCWorks Online to register for our next Defying Ageism in the Job-Search Process and/or Resume Development workshops.
Stacey Henderson, talent engagement strategist, recruits, develops and retains volunteers to support programming at all three NCWorks Career Centers. With more than 10 years of nonprofit and programming experience, Henderson has worked with several local organizations in a variety of roles including as project manager with the Arts and Science Council, assistant director of Crossroads Charlotte with Foundation For The Carolinas and programs district manager with Junior Achievement. She earned a bachelor’s degree in accounting from Johnson C. Smith University, a master’s degree in public administration from UNC Charlotte and a certificate in nonprofit management from Duke University.
Jaslyn Roberts, director of talent development, she leads a multi-disciplinary team focused on skill development, volunteer management, community partnerships, career coaching and skills training to support Charlotte’s unemployed and underemployed citizens. She offers broad experience from a variety of roles in human resources including employee relations, leadership development, executive coaching and diversity strategy. Roberts’ previous roles included working at John Deere, First Union, Pitney Bowes, Wachovia/Wells Fargo and Goodwill Industries of the Southern Piedmont, all in Charlotte, N.C. She holds a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Sacred Heart University in Fairfield, Conn., and a master’s degree in organizational change and leadership from Pfeiffer University in Charlotte, N.C.