So you've worked in sales a long time, perhaps for many years with the same company. Suddenly, the economy turns upside down and you find yourself out of a job. You feel that your years of experience should be a benefit, but you're worried you might have trouble competing in a fierce job market against younger applicants who are considered adaptable, tech savvy, and more flexible when it comes to pay. What can you do to convince employers that your skills and energy are equal to your impressive sales experience? Your first step is to recharge your resume!
Don't Let Your Resume Date You
Your resume will speak for you before you're able to speak for yourself. A hiring manager isn't going to spend hours or even minutes combing through your resume, especially with the great volume they receive during times of high unemployment. Employers look for key words that signal you have the skills and knowledge they need.
Reference Current Technology on Your Resume
The number one way to date yourself is to not reference technology skills that are current or to only reference old systems. Be aware of the technologies sales forces are using within your industry. Your employment may depend on your taking a class either online or on campus. Taking a technology course that gives you a sought after skill in the workforce will show an employer you are energetic and dedicated to advancing your sales career.
Use Up-To-Date Terminology
Reading sales and industry publications will keep you current with today's lingo. Using phrases that people stopped using 20 years ago is going to stand out like a stray cat at a dog show. It will get attention, but not the kind you want. Also, networking at professional association events will not only keep you abreast of today's terminology but the contacts you make can certainly be the key to finding a job.
List Relevant and Recent Experience
Listing each and every job you've had since you were a young whippersnapper (by the way, don't use phrases like 'whippersnapper!') will make your resume too long and make you look old. Keep your important sales experience and go into detail on your most current skills and account activity. An important way to make your lengthy experience work for you is to quantify your results. Also, look fresh by highlighting what you've done to continue learning and advancing in your field.
Use the Latest Job-Seeking Tools
Since you're reading this online, you've clearly already taken one of the most important steps in de-aging yourself. Have you posted your resume online? Are you familiar with LinkedIn? Do you know what a PDA is? IMing? That a Blackberry doesn't always grow on a bush? Hopefully these terms aren't foreign to you. If they are, start looking into the technologies that can help you get a job and that you may need to use in your new job.
Get Professional Advice on Your Resume
Resume writing has changed over the years. Make sure you're using the most current format - the style your youthful competition is using! Don't be hesitant to get professional advice on your resume, the amount it costs you now might be miniscule in comparison to months of lost income due to a resume that doesn't meet expected standards.
Know Your Rights
While age discrimination is hard to prove, it unfortunately does take place. Age discrimination is prohibited by law.
About the Author:
Lynn Mattoon is the content editor and career writer for Beyond.com and their many niche job search websites.