The world of hiring and job search is constantly evolving. We caught up by phone with one of the experts in the field, and YBL (Your Best Life) speaker David Cooley. As the career coach at UCLA Anderson School of Management and owner of Cooley Career and Executive Coaching, he is one of the world’s top experts on how to prep a candidate for a job search.
Find out more about attending YBL (Your Best Life) conference June 11 in Los Angeles here.
AGEIST: As a career coach, what is the biggest mental obstacle you see for people seeking new careers?
David Cooley: People make a number of assumptions about their value based on what they have read, rather than through their experience. People understand correctly that there is a lot of ageism out there, but it doesn’t mean that they don’t have a chance. The assumption ahead of time that companies won’t be interested in hiring based on age, without validating this, is a common issue. Companies make exceptions if they feel the person can add value. Certainly the big tech companies are trying to hire more diverse work forces, in all senses of the word. The biggest mental obstacle is having the confidence and resilience to reach out and try to be a candidate, and not pre-assume that one will not be accepted before even trying .
The other big assumption is that all the jobs are online, when the reality is that the online listings are only 15% of what is out there. The more digital the process has become, the more human interaction is needed, regardless of their age. Hiring decisions are not based on age but on mindset, and the ability to create value. I just had a client who was hired by a big tech company at age 56, getting the best salary of his life. Why? Because he went through the process the right way.
The Importance of Building Relationships
AGEIST: Do you see common skill sets that people need to refresh on?
David Cooley: The most important skill that people overlook is the importance of relationship building and, of course, research. Can the candidate effectively communicate in a concise manner their value? Can the person be bold enough to reach out directly or reach out through LinkedIn or whatever manner is most effective, to try to build a relationship? So much of this is about mindset.
AGEIST: Which would you say is more important, network or resume?
David Cooley: The network is so important — it is critical throughout your career. But you also need a strong resume and a strong LinkedIn profile. All parts of the candidate’s communication need to be strong and aligned.
AGEIST: Do you feel it’s a good idea to be active on LinkedIn, or is there a new platform that is better?
David Cooley: There is no better platform than LinkedIn. It is of paramount importance to be active LinkedIn-connecting with people, commenting on stories you enjoy, liking —getting the algorithm working in your favor. It is the only company I can think of that has its power. They have zero competition, there is no platform that is better, and there won’t be at this point. No one could possibly get the amount of users and data that they have. It just keeps getting better and better. The key is to be active, know how to use it, how to build your brand on it and not be passive.
“YBL is a way to meet energizing people”
AGEIST: What are you most looking forward to about being at YBL?
David Cooley: I really like the line up of people on the panels. There is a wide range of topics for people across interests to inspire them to embrace the opportunities of age. Of most interest to me is meeting like-minded people who share the AGEIST view of the world that your best years are what you make of them, and they could be now. We can make so much of the next years of our lives if we build relationships, embrace technology, build our networks and build the life we want. We have a tendency to cocoon and move away from people as we get older. YBL is a way to meet energizing people who want to live their best lives, who want to make the most of their lives going into their 50s, 60s, 70s and beyond.