Job Hunting Advice for Older Workers
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|Mon, 06-02-2014 - 7:00pm|
I work with a number of mature (over 40) job seekers and find the following tips may be helpful to them.
1)Own your age, but don't whine about it. I can't count how many times I've heard mature job seekers start their job assessment with a whine: "I can't get hired because I'm (fill in age). I whole-heartedly agree with them. No one is going to hire a "negative Ned" or "negative Nancy." So don't start the interview by complaining about your age.
- Own your age don't wear it on your sleeve. It's obvious to most interviewers you aren't 22 and fresh out of college. Gray hair, wrinkles, and laugh lines can be worn with dignity and be viewed as an asset. The minute you open your mouth to whine about your age and the job market you'll take yourself out of the running.
- Here's an old chestnut that's true, especially in job hunting: Attitude is everything. A good attitude is paramount to success. A bad attitude, regardless of your age, will get your resume put in the circular file.
2)Mind your social media. I started my professional life long before computers graced every desktop. I learned to use MS Office, email, Facebook, and Twitter as part of my skill training and am very glad I did. I don't make a point of bringing that up the fact I began my career in the stone age. I live, and communicate, in the now. I am comfortable using social media and talking about it. Get familiar with social media and use it so you can honestly say you know about it.
3)It's a diverse world. I recently took a gray-haired male out of the running for a position, and not because he wasn't qualified. His sin was not directly answering the woman on the interview team. When she asked a question, he automatically turned to the men in the room, looked them in the eye, and answered the question, leaving the woman out of the equation. I'm sure he didn't intend for that to be the impression, but there it was. Organizations today will require their employees to work with a diverse aray of collegues and customers. Such an outright slight won't be tolerated.
4)Mind your dates. I strongly encourage older workers to skip adding years to their emails and dates to their education outline. In other words, no emails that say "johnsmith1960" or "B.S. - State University, 1978." Don't hand age information to the potential employer. Keep things plain and simple. If they require a transcript for your school degrees, they'll discover when you got your bachelor's or master's degree after they've made an offer.
5)An entitlement attitude doesn't pay. Age and experience are advantages. Older workers tend to be more stable, adaptable, and teachable than younger workers. (My observation only). Don't ruin your chances for an offer by demanding above and beyond pay or benefits. Be willing to start at the bottom or the middle to get a foot in the door. Nothing irks an employer more than a worker who comes with an entitlement attitude - no matter what age. Show you are willing to receive the same training and opportunity as someone decades younger.