A report by ExecuNet, Overcoming Today’s Toughest Résumé Challenges, by Marji McClure, advises one strategy that all job seekers should use during their search for a new position: Deploying their network to uncover inside information on target companies and to gain personal introductions and recommendations. “It is always wise to have at least a 70 percent fit with the job qualifications, but if you are missing a crucial one, a personal introduction can outweigh any missing qualifications,” says Rachelle Canter, PhD, president of San Francisco-based executive development firm RJC Associates. “Many mature candidates that I have worked with recently have gotten good jobs in a relatively short time, but always with a strong accomplishment-oriented résumé and the use of contacts.” Jan Melnik, president of career management and résumé writing firm Absolute Advantage agrees that executives, particularly over age 50, need to network, becoming visible thought leaders in their field. And, they should be active participants in the social media world, including links to LinkedIn and/or Twitter profiles in a résumé, and then ensure the profiles are “updated and contemporary sounding/looking,” including the photo is important too. “Embrace current trends,” Jacqui Barrett-Poindexter, owner of Missouri-based Career Trend, encourages. For younger executives, the challenges are similar, and the strategies they can use regarding their résumé are nearly identical as well. “To overcome lack of years, flesh out stories and be ultra sensitive to communicating abilities as a leader within a more senior environment — prove that you are well received and even embraced in environments in which you may be junior in years,” says Barrett-Poindexter. “Talk the talk of those with more years under their belt. The résumé is not the time to cower or defer acclaim.” If you’re the best candidate for the job, age shouldn’t be a factor, some experts say. Dumas notes that employers seek “the candidate who can deliver results — the candidate who has clear and demonstrated ability to make them money, save them money, increase efficiency, and/or solve some challenging problem,” says ExecuNet résumé writer Michelle Dumas, owner of Distinctive Documents. “In today’s job market, a top-notch, impeccably professional résumé that clearly communicates the value you have to offer in the workplace — value that you will deliver to your employer in a more profitable way than your competition (other job seekers) — is essential.” “If your résumé accomplishes this, the actual number of years of your experience will play little to no role in the hiring decision. If you are under 30, but persuasively make your case that you will deliver a higher return on the employer’s investment in hiring you than the next candidate, your age simply won’t matter. Likewise, the same is true for the over-50 candidate. It is really all about the bottom line.” You can download ExecuNet’s free publication, Overcoming Today’s Toughest Résumé Challenges, here.