Traditionally, stakes rise for employees entering the second half of their careers. College expenses and retirement planning can stretch family finances. Health coverage becomes more critical. And there’s less time to make up ground in the event of a job loss or unexpected career change. Employers, too, face tradeoffs. Salaries mount with the experience of employees, and hiring managers weight the enthusiasm and malleability of younger workers against the expertise of seasoned hands.
The last five years, though, have forced companies to adapt their thinking on traditional career patterns as economic upheaval disrupted the career trajectory of potentially valuable hires. Everyone has a story of how they personally weathered the downturn and how that experience has made them more knowledgeable, harder working and more strategic in their fields. These experiences often demonstrate the values that hiring managers seek, and job candidates at all points in their careers should emphasize how their maturity can enhance their value.
For companies seeking talent, a long resume and a wealth of diverse experiences in the industry offer a range of advantages:
- Businesses change: It’s impossible to predict the challenges a team will face five years from now. Markets, competition and the work skills to deal with them change constantly. Odds are, an employee with a longer list of past job titles will have a broader skill set and better strategic knowledge in a changing business environment.
- Perseverance: So long as an advertised position’s job description is accurate, more experienced applicants are more likely to know what they’re getting into when they apply. That could include candidates who’ve endured the trials of entrepreneurship, new product development or mission-critical project completion many times over. Likewise, an established road warrior with enough frequent flier miles to vacation in Tahiti can offer management more peace of mind than someone new to the workforce who hasn’t experienced that lifestyle.
- Training: It’s a myth that only entry-level workers are adept at learning new technology. New software is, after all, new to everyone who encounters it. If a candidate meets the current technical requirements for a position, his or her ability to adopt new technologies in the future will depend on a willingness to learn and to embrace change. Neither is age-dependent.
Candidates, too, should see their maturity as an asset and sell it with confidence to potential employers:
- Emphasize experience: The more time people spend in the workforce, the better they understand the nature of their work and their interaction with their coworkers. Approach employment prospects with concrete examples of how your knowledge sets you apart. Your years in the workforce likely give you numerous specific instances that prove you can drive sales, improve efficiency, meet deadlines, motivate a team or otherwise achieve the accomplishments valued by potential employers.
- Professional contacts: A long industry career results in decades of personal contacts, former clients and coworkers whose careers have moved in parallel to your own. Networking is always more effective than scouring job postings, and here seasoned workers have an edge. A long resume is unlikely to scare a potential employer if he or she has met you in person and knows you from your past work before they see an application. Furthermore, someone who has been in the industry longer may find it easier to relate to managers and to identify their needs in the interview process.
The disruptive changes in the real estate market have leveled the playing field somewhat. With everyone’s career affected to one degree or another, companies have to look deeper than the list of job titles and dates on a resume to uncover the personal characteristics, skills and values that reveal a candidate’s potential. Job seekers and hiring managers alike are best served by focusing on all that a candidate’s years in the business can offer down the road.
For more than 25 years, Christopher Frederick has helped find the talent that drives the growth of leading companies in the real estate industry. To learn more about how we can enhance your next executive search using our extensive digital network of professionals, contact Chris Hingle at firstname.lastname@example.org, 800-EXU-FIRM. Or visit our website at www.chrisfred.com.