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IT job search tips for baby boomers

Rich Hein | Sept. 4, 2013
Is your extensive IT experience and your age making it harder to find a new positions? Learn how to limit the effects of age discrimination and land that interview.

You have 25 years of experience as an IT professional, you made it through the dot com boom and the housing bubble. So why is it you can't seem to find a new position in your chosen technology field?

Some say it's because of your age and they may not be wrong. According to a recent CIO article, age discrimination in the tech industry (and in Silicon Valley, in particular) is a growing trend among companies such as Facebook, Twitter, Cisco and others. While there isn't a lot you can do if a hiring manager is bent on hiring someone younger, there are things you can do to prevent yourself from being cut before you even make it to the interview.

Marva Goldsmith, an author, career strategist and an expert in helping people over 50 rebrand themselves, says there are three employer misconceptions that you have to overcome if you are a Baby Boomer IT pro and you find yourself in the job market.

You're too old (you've outlived your usefulness).

You're too expensive (your salary could fund three new employees).

You're too old school (you can't keep up with new technologies).

"The reality is that these perceptions exist in the career marketplace and — as we all know — perception is reality," says Goldsmith. To help make a new job your reality, spoke with career coaches, strategists, IT recruiters and authors to uncover what's behind this trend and to provide tips to help you avoid being cut for your age before you really get a chance to showcase your skills.

Job Hunting Is a Full-Time Job
"Boomers need to recognize who they are competing with," says managing partner of Keystone Associates, Elaine Varelas. There are no shortcuts here. The IT job market is fiercely competitive so you've got be prepared to put in a lot of time and effort. Don't rely only on your recruiter or job boards; you've got to have a multipronged attack if you want to secure a job in a reasonable amount of time. Work with a recruiter, use job boards and put the word out to your network.

Resume Tips for Baby Boomers
The resume is a great place to start. This often times is the only contact you may have with a prospective employer. "Write a solid accomplishment-driven resume that shows how you overcame challenges with results," says Jayne Mattson, senior vice president at Keystone Associates. This is at the top of her list of critical items that baby boomers need to address.

Trim Your Resume Down
You've been an IT pro for more than 20 year, but you don't want to list all that experience on your resume. Nothing will make your resume hit the trash can faster than a laundry list of out-of-date skills. Remove older positions and skills that aren't relevant to the position you are shooting for. Unless you're a multi-published person, Varelas says, "Boomers need to be sure they leave it at two pages. It needs to have your LinkedIn profile on it and you really need to make sure that it's easily readable."


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