SEATTLE -- For unemployed people ages forty and older, finding that next job means walking a fine line between emphasizing decades of experience, while at the same time conveying youthful qualities.
During a time when some studies show that a full third of unemployed workers are ages 45 and up, changing times call for new job hunting strategies.
"Really, you need to speak in terms of young," said Lee Foote, the CEO of the Brighton Group, a talent management firm based in Bellevue. That being said, Foote knows there are many compelling reasons to hire employees with a decade or two of experience.
"One could easily make the assumption that 'Let's hire the younger worker who'd be less expensive and we'll get by on the cheap,'" he says. "That's not a solid formula. There are so many advantages of a seasoned and mature work force where you have workers who understand good work ethics. They've got a proven work ethic, proven productivity, knowledge, and contribution. And they have the big picture."
But Foote also knows that during a time when companies are saving money by laying off more experienced, and therefore expensive employees, showing youthful energy and flexibility is key to landing a new job. That's why older workers sometimes need to think outside the box.
"I love it when a resume reflects that they're a marathon runner or they have a rigorous workout schedule and program," he says.
Susan Stringer, a vice president at the Brighton Group, says she coaches her clients to sound youthful and energetic. She says it is particularly important during the initial phone screening interview. "I like to coach my clients to walk around. To have a headset on. To be just be smiling and also, to sometimes even have answers on flip chart paper."
Foote and Stringer also say it's important for more mature job seekers to be fluent in the culture of youth. That means maintaining social networking sites and being well versed in the current industry terms.