9 Mature Age Self Marketing Tips

24 Jun 9 Mature Age Self Marketing Tips

This is a guest blog I wrote for Nvoi – www.nvoi.com.au (it was originally published in two parts)….
We’re delighted to have Seona Craig, Director and Personal Brand Consultant at You Unlimited, share her professional branding tips for mature-aged workers in this two-part blog post series
Finding a new job is never really easy. But according to the latest labour market figures, mature-aged workers continue to struggle the most.
In April of this year, the average unemployed person aged 55 years or more had been looking for a job for 53 weeks, or just over a year, while the average unemployed person under 55 years had been looking for under 37 weeks. While these figures very from month-to-month, the averages for the past year reinforce the challenges facing many mature-aged workers: under 55s were jobless for 35 weeks while over 55s were out of work for 65 weeks.

So what’s the problem?

Well, it’s a complex issue with a number of contributing factors, including the issue of ‘ageism’ and the ingrained prejudices and misconceptions associated with employing mature-aged workers. However, one of the major problems is that mature-aged workers often struggle the most with marketing themselves.
Seona Craig, Owner and Personal Brand Strategist at YOU Unlimited, said that learning to market yourself effectively, was critical for the senior segment of the workforce in today’s highly competitive job market.
“Successfully securing a position at any age, is determined by your ability to market and sell yourself effectively into the opportunity you want,” said Seona. “If you are missing out on opportunities to younger applicants, the reason may be different to what you perceive it to be. Younger generations are often better at marketing themselves than the older generations. And in this game, the best marketer often wins.”
How can mature-aged workers become more effective self-marketers? It all starts with a professional brand.
“I find that mature-aged workers, find it more difficult than their younger counterparts to develop and leverage their professional brands,” Seona said. “But if you can package up your skills, knowledge, qualities and experience, and pitch it effectively, you will definitely increase your chances of success.”

What is a professional brand?

A professional brand also known as a personal brand, is ultimately your reputation or what you’re known for. And it doesn’t matter what you do, you already have a professional brand. Regardless of your industry and area of expertise, regardless of your age, you’ve already got a professional brand. We all do. Your professional brand – and how you manage it and market it – is what can set you apart from the millions of other professionals.
Below, Seona generously shares her nine top professional branding tips for mature-aged workers.

1. Develop an elevator pitch

Develop an elevator pitch, practise it and perfect it so it is ready to use in networking situations. For tips on how to craft an impressive elevator pitch, read this post.

2. Make over your resume

It can be difficult to create a clear and concise resume that adequately represents your evolution as a professional, and successfully make it stand out amidst hundreds of candidates. However, it’s important that your resume achieves both of these objectives. A boring resume that lists roles and responsibilities is not a viable form of marketing your professional brand. A few suggestions for making over your resume:
  • The front page should include a succinct summary of what you offer and provide and at-a-glance view of how you can solve the needs of a potential employer. Consider including an introductory paragraph (refer to ‘Elevator Pitch’ for ideas) along with key skills, performance areas, education background and qualifications.
  • Choose three or four relevant career highlights, and keep these positions limited to the last 10 to 15 years and be sure to include experience that is transferrable to the current roles you’re seeking. Consider the positions that you are most proud of and the ones that adequately demonstrate how you’re going to be the right fit for the role. For each of these positions, focus on achievements instead of responsibilities. From improving filing systems to saving the company millions of dollars through implementing a new initiative.
  • Include statistics. Quantitative information speaks louder and more powerfully than nicely written statements. For example, ‘A successful, experienced sales manager with a proven track record of increasing sales and achieving budgets’ sound less impressive than ‘With 20 years experience as a sales manager, I have achieved over 2.5 million in pure profit, above forecasted targets.’
  • In terms of branding, make it look fresh and modern. How? Use modern fonts such as Calibri, Century Gothic of Arial. Don’t be afraid to also inject a splash of colour for headings and sub-headings, just don’t get too carried away! Use 3 words to describe you across the top of your resume, under your name and job title…see examples on website
  • It’s also a good idea to seek professional help when it comes to making over your resume. If you’re an independent contractor, you may also want to consider getting a personal logo designed for extra credibility It’s an investment that will pay itself off.

3. Know your value

The only reason companies hire workers is that there is a problem or need that only a particular person can solve. It’s a simple premise that has endured the test of time. You need to be able to sell your skills and services as the ideal solution for a particular problem.Think deeper about how you are uniquely positioned to be able to help people and companies solve their problems in a way that no one else can. That is your value, and your competitive advantage. Incorporate this value into your professional brand at every touch point including your resume and elevator pitch.

4. Utilise technology platforms

There may be some cases where technology maybe the only thing that stands between you and a candidate from a younger generation. If you haven’t already, bring yourself up-to-date with various online tools and applications, and use these to network and market yourself.
Some ideas include developing a LinkedIn profile and an Nvoi profile, which are both invaluable platforms for mature-aged workers to establish their professional brand, and attracting job opportunities or contract employment. Whichever online platforms you choose to engage with, your brand needs to be clear and consistent throughout.Once you’ve established a professional brand online, include links to your profile in your resume and email signature, which will directly help to shift the perception that mature-aged workers do not engage with technology to drive results.


5. Leverage your network

Mature-aged workers typically have the largest professional networks, with careers spanning 30 or 40+ years. It is likely that you’ve worked with many people, across many functions and industries so leverage this network. Online, professional networking platforms like LinkedIn are a great way to reconnect with past colleagues, clients and managers and to showcase recommendations and reviews from them.

6. Embrace past mistakes

With years of experience behind you, you will have made mistakes and learnt from them. Mistakes throughout your career and life are inevitable, but highly-effective people are the ones who learn from every single one of them. I believe that by hiring mature aged workers, employers lessen their exposure to risks associated with amateur mistakes. For example, a 20-year-old employee is yet to make a lot of mistakes over the next 20 years. On the other hand, you have made your mistakes and learnt from them, which is a benefit to employers.

7. Change your perception

If you perceive your age as a problem and focus on it, it will be a problem. Take heart, as a mature-aged worker you have plenty to offer, and employers are increasingly recognising your unique set of skills and attributes.
Over the course of your careers, you  have accumulated extensive skills, knowledge, practice, intellectual property and industry connections – a collection of irreplaceable assets that  provide organisations with the opportunity to gain critical advantages. Use this collection of assets to your advantage and see it as a benefit.
Believe that you’re an asset to an employer and use that belief to help educate potential employers about how it benefits them. Perhaps you can use these assets to train and mentor younger generations?

8. Believe in yourself

Henry Ford once said, “whether you think you can, or think you can’t … you are right.” Not believing in yourself is the greatest barrier to successfully securing opportunities. If you don’t believe in yourself, you need to work on improving your self-confidence and self-belief. A great exercise for this is to write down all the reasons you are valuable, employable and worthy. Look at your list, read it over again and own it all. You can achieve what you believe you can.

9. Consider contract and temporary work

The relationship between ‘employer’ and ‘employee’ is evolving, as a more flexible, non-permanent model is rapidly replacing traditional, full-time working arrangements. Many professionals today are lending their specialised skills as contractors, consultants or temporary workers, providing organisations with access to valuable, high calibre talent as it is required. In fact, contingent working arrangements have now become a legitimate career choice for many.Flexible, contingent working arrangements may include part-time or temporary work, contract or project-based work, seasonal work, as well as shorter hours or alternative start and finish times – an attractive alternative for mature-aged workers. If the thought of having to hit the job trail to find a job seems downright scary, perhaps temporary work and contract employment is a more viable option for you.
Are you a mature-aged worker? What do you find most difficult about the employment process? Do you have professional branding advice of your own that you would like to share? Leave your comments below.