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Boomers: How To Rebrand Yourself To Get Back Into The Workforce

Interview
Interview

I recently coached a Boomer – 20 years of varied experience, deep industry expertise, substantial management background including P&L and staff oversight.

You’d almost never know it!

He had a classic resume problem: a long paragraph of text to start (my recruiter eyes knew instantly to look away).

He was going after a string of unrelated leads (so his effort was diffused all over the place). He was responding to job postings, rather than tapping his large network of contacts (so he was getting stuck with junior contacts who either didn’t understand or were threatened by his deep experience). Rather than positioning himself at the correct level, he was letting the market call the shots.

He needed to rebrand as the experienced executive that he is to get back into the workforce on his terms:

Position yourself with your key qualifications: functional experience, industry expertise, management background, and whatever quantifiable results you have (e.g., # of staff, size of budget, financial results). Put these in short, bulleted format at the top of your resume and online profile (for more resume help,click here).

An online profile is key – lots of companies use LinkedIn to search for candidates (I always did as a recruiter) so if you’re not there, you won’t be tapped. Also use your qualification highlights to guide your networking pitch and verbal messaging.

Target your search to match what you want. Identify your target companies and then research them to identify opportunities there. Many of these won’t be posted, so use your deep experience with how companies are organized to identify your target function and therefore your target people. Unless you are looking in HR, don’t go through HR – go directly to the functional area you are targeting.

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Bottom line: don’t settle for what happens to be advertised.

These spots are lower-level, and it is too easy to screen you out.

Use your network.

Remember to follow good etiquette – see last week’s post on The Right Way To Reconnect With Old Networking Contacts.

By reaching out you are controlling your brand – no “whatever happened to Jim?”

People want to help, but if they don’t know you’re around, they won’t think of you when they have information that could be helpful.

Don’t forget: it is up to you to make sure friends and colleagues know your qualifications and interests the way you are positioning yourself now, not what they happen to remember from 10 years ago.

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Caroline Ceniza-Levine is a career expert, writer, speaker and co-founder of SixFigureStart (www.sixfigurestart.com), a career coaching firm comprised of former Fortune 500 recruiters. Caroline is a co-author (along with Donald Trump, Jack Canfield and others) of the upcoming "How the Fierce Handle Fear: Secrets to Succeeding in Challenging Times" due out March 2010; Bascom Hill Books. Formerly in corporate HR and retained search, Caroline most recently headed University Relations for Time Inc and has also recruited for Accenture, Citibank, Disney ABC, and others. Caroline is also an Adjunct Assistant Professor of Professional Development at Columbia University, School of International and Public Affairs, a life coach (www.thinkasinc.com) and a columnist for CNBC.com, Conde Nast's Portfolio.com, Vault.com, Wetfeet.com and TheGlassHammer.com.

Watch "Tom Brokaw Reports: Boomer$!", Thursday, March 4 at 9pm ET on CNBC. The program will also air Saturday, March 6 at 7pm ET; Sunday, March 7th at 9pm ET; and Monday, March 8th at 8pm ET.