Older Job Seeker: Your Age is an Advantage, Not a Liability

Marty was adamant that she was not landing a job interview in her field of technology solutions marketing due to her age.  When she called, she told me that she expected me to disagree with her but I didn’t.  Silence on the other end of the phone followed when I replied, “Marty, I agree it could be a strong factor why you have not heard from one of the 16 companies you contacted or submitted applications to.” “Oh?, she replied.  “Tell me more and how you can help.”  So I did.

Yes – job seekers over 50 have a tougher time finding work but there is good news.

 The Age Advantage

Both recruiters and hiring managers are changing their attitudes towards older job candidates.  Many are impressed by decades of experience and they know the benefits of an older employee include:

  • better attendance
  • company loyalty
  • less drama

In addition, they are appreciated for:

  • wisdom in decision-making
  • stability
  • enhanced communication skills
  • the ability to mentor younger employees
  • strong work ethics

I know this to be true based on my corporate experience managing a recruiting team and also weighing in on selection decisions with hiring managers.

However, expect to encounter these perceptions

Unfortunately, there are negative attitudes towards employees over the age of 50 and these include concerns about them being:

  • less tech savvy
  • less agile
  • resistant to change
  • less adaptable
  • not as innovative
  • not able to work well with younger employees

The good news – you can overcome these biases

  • On your resume
    • Utilize a progressive format – no objective statement
    • Communicate in contemporary verbiage and use current keywords
    • Reference experience and knowledge of technology
    • Showcase achievements with metrics and data
    • Do not list experience or education prior to the year 2000
  • In your Linked In Profile
    • Your photo – is your clothing and hair style contemporary?
    • Do all your connections have gray hair?
    • Networking with Gen X and Y keeps you current
    • Avoid obsolete or dated language, phrases or words
  • In the Interview
    • Watch your language – avoid “1980s and 1990s speak”
    • Use examples from recent experiences
    • Don’t say “Back when I ………” or “It used to be…….”
    • Cite references to your current personal development
      • Refer to process improvements you have made recently at work
      • Share a change you championed or examples of your adaptability
    • Demonstrate enthusiasm and commitment to work for the long-term
    • If asked about hobbies, refer to those involving vitality, health, exercise

Having done all this, you may still encounter recruiters and hiring managers who assume they can’t afford you because you come with a much higher price tag than a younger candidate.  That’s the reality; maybe it is true in your case and maybe it is not.  Be prepared to state a salary range which is commensurate with the position, your experience and value and what is fair.

Looking for more strategies to land your dream job, your perfect career?  Contact me at Patricia@CareerWisdomCoach.com for a free consult.  I’ve reviewed thousands of resumes,  interviewed and hired hundreds of professionals and I know what it takes to get hired.

 

3 Job Search Blunders Older Job Seekers Make

Job seekers over 40 and 50 years old are challenged.  Ageism exists and finding a new job can be frustrating.  You have two battles to fight:

  1. Recruiter and Hiring Manager Perceptions of You

  2. Your own Perception, Confidence and Job Search Strategy

You will probably hear the dreaded word, “overqualified”, from a recruiter or hiring manager at some point in your job search.  Often that term really means:

You require a salary so high that the company either cannot afford you or it can find someone else (stay tuned and read below how you can convince them that you are worth your salary) at a lower salary.

  • If you are hired at a lower wage than you used to earn, you won’t be as happy and either start looking for another job or not be as committed to the job.
  • Based on your experience, and especially if you have held a management position, you will start trying to change things or tell people how to do their jobs.
  • You may not get along with the younger employees or your manager if younger than you.

Much of an older job seeker’s perceptions that they are too old or overqualified are self imposed. Continue reading