Not Just Hair Dye: An Older Guy's Guide To Getting A Job

It’s not just a matter of putting on a few doses of “Touch of Gray.” John shares his strategies for getting a job as an older guy in the youth-obsessed technology field. While the last story we wrote about this focused on the power of personal connections to open doors, John makes sure that his resume is very nice and Google-friendly.

John writes:

I just read your article http://consumerist.com/2011/07/and-that-was-when-i-started-coloring-my-hair—job-crunch-hits-older-workers-harder.html

I have been doing this for many years. At first my mustache was turning gray so I shaved it off. That was about age 35. My graying temples began at about 45. I had a good job at them time and ignored the gray. But then in 2006 the private company I worked for sold to another company and they laid off several of the departments that the buying company didn’t want. Now I was on the job market. I immediately went to the store and bought some Grecian Formula. In 3 days my gray hair was gone. I am now 55.

But that wasn’t the only change I made. Having hired many IT positions for my customers at the former job, I know how the search process works. So I reformatted my resume to attract companies looking for talent.

Typically, when a company wants to hire someone in IT, they are looking for specific technologies that the candidate is competent in. So after the resume section of my on line resume, but before the introduction letter I put in a table. This table lists all technologies I am competent in.

Most jobs that are available are not posted on the Internet or news papers. So you have to make your resume “Search Friendly” because that’s the way companies and head hunters look for talent. They are not going to read thousands of resumes that say “IT” or “Microsoft Windows” when they are looking for a specific skill set.

Since the recession began, I have had several jobs where the company I worked for either went out of business or quickly laid everyone off to weather the recession. I post my resume at Monster, Career Builder and several lesser known sites. I get calls all the time for work because someone found my resume. I made it easy for them to find me.

The interview is typically a phone interview at first. So getting to the personal interview means you have to ace the phone interview. To do this, you need to somehow get them to tell you what their upcoming projects are and what trouble they are having. Since I know the technologies, I tell them what trouble they are having during the phone interview and, as a freebie, will give them a solution to one of the problems. Now they are in love with me because that’s the way the technical people who are interviewing you are.

Normally I get the personal interview. My dyed hair is a natural color and I don’t show any signs of aging. At the personal interview I answer their technical questions and demonstrate my technical prowess by solving another problem of theirs while I’m on site. This shows them that I’m not one to keep secrets of technology to myself.

Using this method I have remained employed and actually have increased my pay by upwards of 25% since the recession began.

I guess that what I’m trying to say is that coloring your hair is an important step but combining several strategies through the course of job hunting will improve your chances of getting a job.

What have you tried to change about yourself or your resume in order to land a job in this tough economy?

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“And That Was When I Started Coloring My Hair” – An Older Man Looks For Work In The Recession