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Ask Aerotek: 7 Job-Hunting and Interviewing Strategies for Experienced Candidates

Companies today are increasingly concerned with having the knowledge, skills and experience to compete in our global world. Yet we sometimes see experienced job seekers who are easily discouraged because of propagated fears over competing with younger professionals. However, on the contrary, this demographic should know and truly believe in the value that they can bring to a company. 

So how are experienced job seekers viewed by employers? Do they need to take a different approach to job-hunting than their younger counterparts? We’ve consulted with recruiters at Aerotek, as well as outside sources to bring you the latest and most trustworthy advice.

1. Stress your experience
At a time when employers are concerned about a skills gap, experienced candidates are more valuable than ever. 

“It’s important that job seekers don’t underestimate the power of their knowledge, experience, and perhaps most importantly, their ability to teach others, particularly younger professionals,” Stuart Ferguson, Aerotek’s vice president of divisional operations told Professional Engineers Magazine

“These are things that should be leveraged and highlighted in resumes or any prospective job conversations,” adds Ferguson. 

2. Use your contacts
If you’ve been in the workforce for decades, you’ve probably developed many professional contacts. Now is the time to make the most of them. 

“Network!!” stresses Jackie Ross, recruiter at Aerotek.  “This is so important for any candidate…It is really important for people to just meet as many people as possible in and outside of the field you are looking to enter. Whether this is networking in person or even networking through social media outlets, like LinkedIn. Networking is huge, so I encourage everyone I meet to talk to as many people as you can and follow up with those contacts.”

3. Make the most of social media
Not only do 98 percent of recruiters use LinkedIn to find candidates, in many cases, they also consult jobseekers’ LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter accounts to get a better sense of who they are.

And today, your LinkedIn profile serves as your digital calling card; knowing how to make it work for you can make you stand out among an increasingly crowded job-market. Not sure where to start? Don’t worry! We’ve also compiled top tips in one of our latest articles on how to perfect your LinkedIn profile.   

4. Update your skills as needed
Technology is constantly changing and it’s always important to stay abreast of trends.  If you find you are lacking some of the skills you need to land the job you want, consider obtaining training before or during your job search. Every skill you acquire is one more that can differentiate you from your competition and give you the edge when it comes to getting hired. This need not be expensive. We’ve assembled a list of FREE resources to help you get started.  
Once you have completed trainings, make sure to highlight your accomplishments on resumes, LinkedIn profiles and at job interviews,” urges Melanie Wilson. For any candidate, “Updated skills, training and certifications show [your] willingness to learn and eagerness to keep up with the ever changing technology,” explains Wilson.

5. Tweak your resume
It’s important to know that it is illegal for an employer to ask your age. With that in mind, and at this stage in your career, there isn’t a need to include every job you have had since high school or college on your resume. 

Matt Wiehe of Aerotek recommends removing dates of education and any jobs that go back more than 10 years. Wiehe also advises to avoid starting resumes and cover letters with phrases such as, “Over 30 years of experience…” He tells prospective candidates to remove any information that might make a hiring manager think you are too experienced or expensive for the position they are trying to hire.

6. Be confident!
Paul Gianfagna encourages experienced candidates to be flexible and adaptable. 

“[One of] the biggest concerns I get from hiring managers is that they are afraid that candidates are stuck in their ways, not willing to be flexible and can’t adapt quickly to a new environment. Make sure you elaborate on the expertise and experience you have gained over the years but also show [your] ability to be flexible, adapt to change and willingness to work on a team. Candidates over 50 can be intimidating to a hiring manager, but don’t let them feel that way,” says Gianfagna. 

Along with a willingness to be flexible, Gina Calderone advises experienced candidates to keep an open mind when it comes to taking a position or salary that may feel beneath them. “Remember: Once you have the job, you can work your way up,” she says. 

7. Get help from a professional
“You can maximize your job search and get trained professionals on your side by working with organizations that specialize in matching employers with employees that have the skills and experience necessary for open positions,” recommends AARP. “These organizations can help expose you to new jobs and opportunities you might not have thought to explore on your own.” 

So don’t go it alone. Recruiters have the connections and know-how to get you in the door with prospective employers. Once you’re there, you can sell yourself. 

Have more tips for experienced job seekers? Join the conversation on Facebook and Twitter. Check out our blog to find more job seeking advice. Visit our job board for employment opportunities.