If you're old enough to remember when the Beatles split up, you need to be careful constructing your LinkedIn profile lest you scare off potential employers.
Nicole Williams, a career expert at the business-oriented LinkedIn, recently offered some advice to Forbes readers in an article titled "What To Say On LinkedIn When You're 50+."
LinkedIn is a great medium on which to strut your stuff, and Williams -- who, according to her own LinkedIn profile, started college in 1989 (a year before my now 23-year-old daughter was born) -- offers some good ideas for us old folks.
It's absolutely true, for example, that employers are reluctant to hire baby boomers, are skeptical about our energy level, and are concerned about whether we know the difference between an app and an Apple™.
Another thing Williams is dead right about is her suggestion to keep your summary succinct and focused -- and exclude details about the exact numbers of working years you’ve logged, which, she says, "screams old."
That information -- about careers, skill sets, and industries -- belongs in the "experience" section, where more is better so that potential bosses trolling for the perfect employee can find you through search, due to your unique combination of skills and industry knowledge.
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Similarly, I won’t quibble over the fact that the social web is a visual and personal media. Yes, you can leave out dates and years of experience. But you definitely can’t "fake youth" by hiding behind a woefully out-of-date photograph. Instead, Williams advises:
Have your hair styled and get your makeup professionally done. Whether you have a friend, family member or photographer take the picture, think of something that makes you happy when you look into the camera. Your goal is to smile with your eyes, as well as with your mouth, and not look tired (which just fuels employers’ stereotypes).
"Employers' concern," Williams told Forbes, "is that you are over the hill in that aesthetic, stereotypical kind of way -- that you’re everything they fear."
They fear me? I never quite thought about it that way during the years when I faced down those very issues myself and still managed to find a modicum of success in the job market with a LinkedIn profile that showcases broad experience, energy, and intellectual curiosity.
As for the pesky profile picture on both LinkedIn and my Internet Evolution blog, I’ll clue you in on my secret. I unearthed a relatively recent photo showing me at my relaxed and happy best within a seven-year time period. I approached my husband -- probably not the most objective source -- for a reality check.
"Do I still look like that?," I asked.
He nodded and wisely responded, "Yes."
He knew better than to mention the gray hairs that I’ve earned along the way. Fortunately, my future employer didn't feel obligated to mention that either.