Tips for Workers Age 50 and Older

Question: Should I use my LinkedIn profile as a way to pique a potential client’s interest instead of providing details about my past experience? Do clients care if their contractors are not only highly qualified but also–well, 50-plus? I’ve read the article on the STC job bootcamp site about implicit age discrimination, and I’ve heard from other sources that any experience more than 10 years in the past is irrelevant. But does such conventional wisdom apply equally–or at all–to contractors? Date: 2/10

Here are some tips I received

A LinkedIn profile is quite useful if you can get some recommendations. It can sometimes be an alternative to taking references.
Read “What color is your parachute?” by Richard N Bolles.
There is no requirement to put your DOB on your CV!
Use all of your networks, including LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, etc. Extend your network beyond the profession to groups that might actually be hiring consultants and contractors.
John Jantsch of Duct Tape Marketing is doing a workshop on Social Media.
Pam Slim, business coach and blogger, just came out with a book based on her blog.
Lisa Haneberg’s “Two Weeks to a Breakthrough”; Julia Cameron’s “The Artist’s Way”; and “The 100 Best Business Books of All Time”.
You don’t have to have a chronological resume. Clients want to know that you can do the work and bring knowledge and skills to the table.
Sample resumes
Set up meetings, visit trade show events, attend seminars in the subject area of your expertise, ask to speak at trade show events, attend STC chapter meetings.
Use Functional resumes or T-letters.
PDF your resume.
Include a link to your online portfolio or include a publications list.
Eliminate the summary/objective field.
Use your company name as your current employment.
Highlight your most relevant experience. It’s OK not to have exactly the experience someone is looking for, but be sure that you highlight related and relevant experience that you DO have.
Use tech com best practices. Spell out acronyms, avoid idioms, use parallel structure and action verbs, keep the tense the same throughout, etc. Run a spell check.
Take the time to make it look nice. Show a little design flair (unless you have to upload it to a text only system). Stand out a little from the crowd.
Think about your audience. They are busy managers who probably have a stack of resumes on their desks and little time peruse them. The faster they can put you in the interview pile, the better off you are.
Check out the techwr-l site for examples — look in the archives; they’ve had lots of good ideas.
Be careful what ads you respond to–a lot of the ads are spam. The safest way to deal with it is to respond to ads listing a website or business.
STC SIGs are great if you have professional connections; techwr-l (in my experience) is better for broad, industry wide info. HATT is also good.
Always name your file as follows:

With a functional resume, the outline generally looks as follows:
Address (in header)
Related Skills (the order of the skills changes depending on the specific job’s requirements):
–Skill A (e.g., Writing/editing)
—-3-4 bullet points that demonstrate skill A (e.g., Designed and developed 5 user guides for x product. New design reduced customer service calls by 10%.)
–Skill B (e.g., Project Management)
—-3-4 bullet points that demonstrate skill B –Skill C (e.g., Web Design)
—-3-4 bullet points that demonstrate skill C

Computer knowledge (order of list depends on what job asks for):
–list the applications you are an expert user in; if you are just familiar with (i.e., have played with but not used extensively) you can still list it but you need to separate those from the apps you are expert in

Employment History (reverse chron)

Education/Training (reverse chron)

Honors/Awards (reverse chron)

End with “References and Publications List Available upon request, or you can visit my website, ”

Be sure to put the following in your footer page X of Y

The best explanation of a T-letter is from the TECHWR-L archives.