Make Your Job Search a Marketing Campaign


This posting is a guest entry from the Career Doctor, Randall S. Hansen, PhD: Laura writes: Since moving to Daytona Beach 5 years ago, I have worked for 10 employers and also tried self-employment. (Four of the jobs were temporary.) Only one of those employers was a good match for me, but unfortunately, they went out of business nine months after I started working for them. I am a highly qualified accountant/bookkeeper, but it seems this town is unwilling to pay a decent salary to someone with my skills and more than 25 years of experience. My age (over 50) may also have something to do with my inability to get a good job offer. I have been on several interviews, but I seem to come in second or third choice.
The Career Doctor responds: I think now is the time to reinforce the whole concept of a job search as a marketing campaign. Your cover letter and resume are the key marketing promotion documents and the job interview is the critical sales call. If you then look at yourself as a product, it puts job-hunting in a much different light. You have a number of issues/problems/concerns that need to be addressed. First, I let me preface the rest of this answer with the depressing news that the Central Florida job market is one of the weakest and low-paying that I have ever researched. So, as you’ve discovered, job-seekers need to keep their expectations tempered. Your resume. There are a number of issues you need to deal with here. First, you need to remove older job experience and take older dates off your experience and education so that employers can’t easily guess your age. Next, you need to do something with all the jobs; 10 jobs in five years is a huge red flag. I would consider lumping all your temporary work into one grouping in a traditional resume — or consider experimenting with some sort of chrono-functional resume, in which skills are emphasized and employment history is secondary. Next, are you current with your training/technology skills — and if so, does it come across on your resume? So much of accounting and bookkeeping practices have changed, even in the last 10 years, that employers may assume older job-seekers still do it the “old” way and may be resistant to change. Your task is to not let them assume that! In the interview. Your resume can only do so much for you — which is basically get you to the interview. Now you need to sell yourself to the employer. Don’t go into interviews, as some older workers do, with anything but a positive attitude — focused on how you can make an immediate contribution to the company (rather than relying on all your years of solid experience). Attitude, especially with older workers, is critical. I strongly recommend that you read some of the articles and other resources in this section of Quintessential Careers: Job Resources for Mature and Older Jobseekers.