The age-old, as it were, adage is that those over 40 can’t get hired.Â Age discrimination laws aside, the call-backs don’t come for the 49-year-old with a stalled career.Â My students resort to the Albert Carr philosophy on ethics:Â lying is something we all do when it helps us and the world has dealt us an unfair hand.Â So, they argue, we must lie on ourÂ rÃ©sumÃ©s to get in the door. But, the Wall Street Journal drew on one woman’s experience and some experts to offer some ideas on how we package ourselves that amount to nothing more than following mom’s advice of putting your best foot forward.Â And they seem to work.Turns out that it ain’t the wrinkles and gray hair that we are trying to hide that employers are worried about.Â They just want employees who are tuned into the culture, the trends, and the attitudes.Â Those in their fifties bring the depth of experience, that much employers know.Â What theirÂ rÃ©sumÃ©sÂ need to show is that experience does notÂ necessarily make them stale. Some ideas forÂ modernization?
1.Â Drop the awards from college.Â They just need to know that you have degree(s).
2.Â Focus on theÂ work experience that is important forÂ a specific employer — in other words, tailor the work experience to highlight your experience inÂ what they need. Call it a “Career Summary” or “Professional Experience” orÂ use your own titles to organize your background.Â With these types ofÂ titles you make it clear that not everything you have done is listed, but there is no misrepresentation.
3.Â SomeÂ search firms recommend aÂ picture (no air-brushing allowed) with a pose and attire that would be a natural fit for whatever the organization.Â Â
TheÂ Â Wall Street Journal found that these tips made a big difference in number of calls for the applicant as well as in offers.Â Funny how we assume we have to cross ethical lines when we hit a roadblock.Â The answer seems to lie in what is at the heart of ethical marketing:Â sell what you have; present it in the best possible light; and don’t compromise trust with misrepresentation.
For more information on the hiring experience in the Journal, see Christina Binkley, “Botox for theÂ RÃ©sumÃ©:Â One Woman’s Image Makeover,”Â Wall Street Journal, June 26, 2008, pp. D1 and D8
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