Six Tips for Older Job Hunters

TBWA Talent Director's Do's and Don'ts to Get the Agency Gig You're Looking for

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Find yourself looking for a job later in life? Nancee Martin, worldwide director-talent at TBWA, has some practical do's and don'ts that might help spruce up your book and get you the agency gig you're looking for.

Nancee Martin
Nancee Martin

1. Embrace Your Background
Include all your experiences and dates. If you try to omit something, your resume won't read right, and whoever's reviewing it will assume that you're hiding something. If you're hiding something, you're not proud of it. And if you're not proud of all your accomplishments, why would someone else be interested in what you have to offer?

2. Enhance Your Skills
We all have blind spots. The digital revolution means even folks who entered the workforce fairly recently need to check new boxes. Clients expect us to be on the pulse of what's new in business, technology and culture. Enroll at Hyper Island or attend a social-networking seminar. Get up to speed and stay there.

3. Understand Your Current Value
You may have once run a department or a piece of global business or an entire office. And maybe you will again. But right now you need to prove that your expiration date is still far in the future. The best way to do that is to be in the game. Be open to opportunities that may seem below or behind you.

4. Expand Your Network
The more people who know you're looking, the more opportunities you'll uncover. By all means, reach out to former bosses, past and present peers, college pals and clients. But don't stop there. You've hired people, trained people, mentored people. Don't just reach up, reach down.

5. Acknowledge the Times
We live in the electronic age. That means you need to be using technology to your advantage. If you don't already have a digital presence, get one. Consider your public profile and what you're posting on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter. Make sure your portfolio is accessible online. Technology means we're all available 24/7 -- not just when we're looking for a job but when we have one. And though it shouldn't need noting, and with apologies to the USPS, communicate via email, and include your cell number in all communications.

6. Do Your Research
Know as much as you can about the company you want to be part of . Know the player and its clients. Figure out where you can add value. It's a bit off-base to be looking for a chief creative officer post if a new one was hired six months ago. But if you've spent a career crafting ads for financial institutions and read that an agency just won a big bank, get in touch and offer your services.

Nancee Martin, a former Booz Allen consultant and recruiter at FCB and WPP, has been worldwide director of talent at Omnicom Group's TBWA since 2007.

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