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March 2008
Keep Your Career Out of the Kiddie Pool!

by Susan Reynolds

I am frequently in the position of helping senior managers and professionals market their skills. Often these executives have years upon years of valuable experience. However, they find themselves in one of the first and perhaps unwelcome job searches of their careers. Many people have found themselves having to leave a company or perhaps having to leave an entire industry because it is no longer economically viable. These professionals may feel that their age will keep them from being able to compete with younger people in the job market. They are amazed at the low level positions they see on the Internet. They may be concerned with not having a complete or up to date degree, or not having currently popular certifications. What they hear in interviews, however, is that they are too over qualified and expensive. They then begin to "dumb down" their resume, as they attempt to avoid being told they're over qualified. They're tempted to avoid discussing their vast experience, and try to market something so inappropriate to their background as their typing speed! I call these desperate job search tactics "trying to swim in the kiddie pool"!

Imagine seeing a grown up wearing water wings and an inflatable dinosaur toy, splashing around in the "kiddie pool" with the toddlers. Looks pretty weird, eh? They just don't fit or belong? It's actually unacceptable and inappropriate? Right! They need to get in the grown up pool with the rest of their peers!

Well career marketing is the same! Evaluate, inventory, and itemize your skills, characteristics, and experiences. Know how your experience compares with what's being taught in schools and certification programs. You might be pleased to see that your "on-the-job" work history more than surpasses the knowledge that younger people only have heard about in a textbook! Get a resume that shows your strengths. Know what you've done to make a difference to the organizations you've helped. Identify the organizations that need the skills you bring to the table, and find the decision makers who will be interested in the contributions you could make to their organizations. Know your value so you can negotiate what you're worth. Know what makes you competitive in the work place. Stay out of the "kiddie pool", and bring your skills to the big pool!

Susan Reynolds is a senior partner at Newmarket Careers in Santa Clarita, a job search and career strategy firm geared toward managerial, executive, and senior level professional careers.  She can be reached at or

Other Job and Career Success Related Articles:
Impressing Potential Employers

What Makes a Great Resume?

Using the Internet for Job Search...

In the Current Job Market, You MUST Compete!

Don't Shop (for a Job) When You're Hungry!

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