Advice to Job Seekers of a ‘Certain Age’

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Harris Allied Suggests Job Seekers of a Certain Age Be Flexible About Compensation and Rewrite Their Career Narrative

The job search process can prove trying at times but for those job seekers that are middle age and older, the process presents additional challenges as the higher salaries these prospective employees typically command can be a stumbling block for employers. But, say experts at executive recruiting firm Harris Allied, job seekers of a certain age need to manage their expectations.

These job seekers need to be ready to compromise on their salary requirements as well as the industry they want to work in. And, they should consider both consulting arrangements and full-time employment,” says Kathy Harris, managing director of Harris Allied.

“In addition, job seekers with some 20 or 30 years’ experience bring a lot to the table in terms of workplace savvy and real-world expertise,” says Harris, “but they need to be able to tell that story in a compelling way. Having a two- or three-page resume is not enough. They need to develop a career narrative from beginning to end to tell their career story. I recommend these job seekers rewrite their resume from scratch rather than merely updating it. This way you can take a more holistic look at all the skills and expertise you bring to the table and tell the story in a more streamlined fashion,” Harris suggests.

Specifically, she says, resumes should not run more than three pages and should give more reading room to the most recent positions. “Make sure you give the reader a good picture of the trajectory of your career. Lastly, even though resumes are submitted online these days, appearance matters. The best move would be to consult with a recruiter who can offer you guidance on how your resume reads and looks to potential employers,” Harris says.

In addition to revising one’s resume, Harris offers the following guidance to job seekers of a certain age:

  •     Expect to interview with someone that is younger, perhaps by 20, 30, or even 40 years. Be mindful not to patronize them and avoid saying things like “when I was your age…”
  •     Vim and vigor matters. Everybody knows those senior executives who practically bound into work every morning and demonstrate a high level of enthusiasm and energy for the day ahead. Embracing a career energetically will translate well with a prospective employer.
  •     Make learning a constant endeavor.
  •     Look for projects that will continue to give exposure both to senior management as well as to the latest technology and programs.
  •     Leave antiquated technologies off your resume.
  •     Check the chip on your shoulder at the door. It’s time to leave the past there and forget how you were wronged in your last position. No one wants to work with a curmudgeon.
  •     Get interview coaching. Even though job seekers have been through the process dozens of times before, it’s a good idea to brush up on the basics and be reminded of what is expected when interviewing with a new company. Recruiters can offer advice on how to dress for the interview since the blue-suit mandate is no longer a requirement. Be reminded about such things as eye contact, firm handshakes and good questions to ask. It never hurts to refresh your interview style.
  •     Put your best foot forward no matter how junior the person interviewing you is. Some employers look to see how a prospective employee will act as part of a team comprised of peers of all ages.
  •     Remember to thank the interviewer – no one sends hand-written notes anymore. A quick spell-checked email will serve the purpose well. Be sure to reiterate how interested you are in the position.
  •     Work with recruiters that specialize in your industry.

“Perhaps most important is the need to network. Know how it works and be sure to get out there and meet with people once a week for drinks, dinner or coffee. The days when you reviewed the classifieds on Sunday mornings are long gone. LinkedIn is a great tool to connect with old – and make new – contacts. Today, finding a new job is about connecting with the right people that can help make an introduction for you,” Harris notes.

About Harris Allied
Harris Allied provides premier executive search, technology and quant analyst placement services to the financial services, professional services, consumer goods, digital media and tech industries. The firm represents clients who are at a variety of growth stages: from tech start-ups to established industry leaders. Harris Allied’s client-centric approach allows the firm to objectively assess the strengths of qualified candidates and thoughtfully match them with the right opportunities.For more information visit To view Harris Allied’s corporate video, “For Each of Us, It Starts with a Moment,” visit

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Nina Dietrich