No matter how much experience you have in your portfolio, what’s important is how you present that experience.


Q: Although my resumé approach — chronological with the names of major design firms I have had the good fortune of working for — has worked for me in the past, it no longer seems to be producing results. I need to know how to promote my experience, which is more than 20 years, and skills as achievements.

I am also wondering if age is a factor. I am 47. How do I detract from the fact that I am older in a younger-oriented industry?

Also, do you know the names of any head hunters for the graphic design field?

A: Hello Christine. While you are still three years shy, I’d encourage you to visit the Canada’s Association for the 50 Plus through www.carp.cawebsite. With retirement no longer mandatory, we are seeing a dramatic shift in mature workers wanting to continue in their current careers or consider new career paths.

This website is also home to the 50 Plus Best Employers Awards, which celebrates employers who create the best professional opportunities for their mature workers in various industries.

I have been in touch with the organization, and regardless of age, they are happy to help educate anyone interested in learning more about the employment issues and opportunities relevant to mature workers.

You’ve mentioned the struggles with marketing yourself against younger workers. I think part of your strategy should include capitalizing on your years of experience by highlighting leadership roles and opportunities where you have performed as a mentor. Many companies that hire mature workers do so because they recognize their mature workers as a crucial part of their employee development pool.

I’d also recommend you register with the Association of Registered Graphic Designers (RGD) of Ontario. Their website is Most months, their workshops and lectures are for both members and non-members. While you’ve mentioned having experience with some of the best firms, this additional credential — if you don’t already have it — might serve as further validation of your skills.

Some other notable resources are, www.designtalkboard.comand the Permanent Search Group headhunter — Permanent Search Group has more than 18 years of experience in strategic recruitment practices and they practice forming long-term relationships with their clients through counselling, job preparation, client testing, and job placement.

Over all, Christine I think checking out these various resources will help you gain some insight into how to repackage and market yourself to hiring managers at this stage in your career.

Also, remember that any team you have been a part of has also made you a part of their successes. It’s up to you to find ways — including references from your supervisors — to showcase how your two cents made the difference.

Good luck and keep in touch!

Jill Andrew — CYW, BA, BA (Hons.), BEd. Please include your full name, address and telephone number when e-mailing. All letters are subject to publication.

jill’s tip of the week

• Many new managers tend to micromanage their employees, which is a waste of time. Instead opt for open, direct lines of communication with clear expectations. Once duties are designated to your workers, trust they will be accomplished as specified. Once communication lines are clear between you and your team, your staff will feel comfortable approaching you should clarifications be necessary. As a new manager you should be open to a lot of learning from your team — including tips on how things worked before you arrived. Remember respect and trust is earned regardless of status.

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