TOO OLD to GET HIRED?
It almost breaks my heart when clients tell me they are convinced that they won’t get hired due to their age. I assure them that we baby boomers are amongst the largest workforce groups and corporate America continues to need us. If you are, however, like many and have sent out scores of resumes, applied to hundreds of job board postings and just aren’t getting anywhere, let’s talk.
Whether you want to or have to work as long as you can, it’s critical for those 50 and over to stay professionally relevant. That translates to being essential and vital despite a demanding job market.
50+ years old Job Searching: A Double Edged Sword
Most employees over 50 are known and valued for their experience, work ethic and stability; however, they are sometimes perceived as inflexible and resistant to change – especially changes requiring them to learn new technology. In this 2012 AARP survey, over 75% disagreed with a statement reading “I have a difficult time keeping up with all the technology required in my work.”
Perceptions are Reality & How You Can Change Yours
Priority #1 is to remain current with technology in order to counter this and other negative impressions. Practically all work related communications and processes are based on technology so make an effort to learn it and keep abreast of updates.
Priority #2 is to network with Generation X’ers, Y’s, and Millennials. Your best work “insurance policy” is to spend time with people of younger generations and know their issues, concerns, language and motivators. It is also a two way street and smart companies engage employees of all generations in order to break down barriers of communications and teamwork. You can do the same thing for your own benefit. Seek out those you know who fall into those generations and invite them for coffee. Focus your conversation about work and their thoughts.
Priority #3 is to be more open to new things and different things. For you, maybe it is learning a new skill, or pursuing a new interest. Many of us discover our true passion and “encore careers” between their 40’s and 50’s. A recent client of mine, whose entire career was in analysis and finance, found that what she really loves is process improvement. She is using her background, coupled with her dynamic communication and relationship building skills, to pursue a new career. Others follow their calling and become business owners in their “second half”.
Don’t Look “old” on Paper:
- Resume: Let’s start here. Does the overall look of your resume resemble a 1977 blue leisure suit?
- Change the format, consider a QR Code to include more information, a link to your Linked In profile, blog or website
- Limit positions to most recent, deleting those older than 15 years ago
- Delete references to dates you were in college, internships or credentialed
- Revamp your Linked In Profile
- Become more engaged in groups
- Review your current network and reach out to new connections
- Target specific companies and get updates
- Follow influencers – those thought leaders relevant to your own career
- Use all the functionalities to network with decision makers and recruiters
- Consider the Publisher feature if your inner author is compelling you to share something with the world. If that piques your interest, consider writing a blog. Doing so shows you are tech savvy and you can share current issues within your industry or field about the latest updates
- Be Prepared for the New Interviews
- Do you have examples of Achievements to share?
- Do you know how to respond to the emotionally intelligence type of questions?
- Are you armed with some “stories” to tell which demonstrate your talents, accomplishments and results?
- Speak to your most recent positions and achievements and don’t go down memory lane to your first jobs out of college. Emphasize current; minimize aged information.
On a Personal Note
Your job search may give you a good reason for a day at the spa. Treat yourself to a massage, mani-pedi, new hair style or teeth whitening to look younger and give you extra confidence.
Lastly, remember your age is an asset. As you consider what differentiates you from your competition, claim your experience and record of career success rather than fearing you are the oldest candidate. Most hiring managers will agree: “I’d rather hire someone with a wealth of experience and who has a proven track record.”
I help clients identify and market their signature strengths and talents via compelling resumes and linked in profiles. Patricia@CareerWisdomCoach.com
photo credit: http://www.nytimes.com