Tips for the more 'experienced' job seeker

Perception is everything, as the saying goes, and that applies to many things – including job seeking. Let’s talk about how to use your age, if you are 45+ years old, to your advantage when seeking employment.

Many of the people with whom I’ve done transition coaching have fallen into the trap of feeling that being “older” was something of a curse when it came to seeking employment.

Not so! And here are some tips/strategies for you to consider using to get past the fact that you are older:

Don’t apologize for your age, just present specific accomplishments rather than how long you have been working. The adage of “you’re not older, you are just wiser” is the key. You are not “old,” you are experienced!

Talk results, not years of service by discussing how you successfully handled the multitude of challenges thrown your way and how that ultimately benefited current or former employers (i.e., what impact did you have on their bottom line – more sales? Reduced expenses? Improved operational efficiencies?). Remember, hiring managers are judged by the results related to the people they bring into the organization; thus, they are seeking someone with a solid history of strong accomplishments.

Keep your eye on the ball by focusing on the opportunity at hand. Don’t feel compelled to ramble on about ALL of the different experiences you’ve had. (What you did for an employer in 1988 is of little interest. Hiring managers are only concerned with what you have actually accomplished in the last five to ten years, and only about those skills that directly relate to the open position). Unless you are applying for a position that requires you to wear a dozen different hats, stick to what you are best at doing – that which differentiates you from the competition.

Act like you have “been there before” by talking with the hiring manager in terms of your being able to make an immediate impact upon their group/division/company’s bottom line. The key is to demonstrate that you have a solid history of consistently exceeding expectations as a result of your thorough knowledge of the job/industry and the ability to successfully apply that knowledge.

Show that you have a global view of the industry and an understanding of how the position being sought interacts with others within the company. Prove to the hiring manager that a candidate with only a few years of actual work experience would not have as deep an understanding of the industry as do you. Such global thinking is critical to making good judgments/decisions. Again, remember that the hiring manager wishes to bring someone on board that will ultimately make them look good to their boss! 

As they say, “it’s all in the presentation.” Tell your story with a resume focused on accomplishments that reflect a solid history of strong performance. Then seal the deal by using the interview to provide, with passion and confidence, specific examples of your ability to make a significant impact with the company.

If you don’t concentrate on your age, neither will the hiring manager. 

Here are a couple questions for you: If you knew/could tell that the hiring manager/company DID discriminate based upon age, would you really want to work there? Don’t you really want to be working for an employer that values your talents, abilities and skills, regardless of your age?

A couple of weeks ago I turned 56 years young. “Fifty-six and fabulous,” I keep telling my children. I don’t apologize for my age, I’m proud of it.

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Volume 3, Issue 1, Posted 8:41 PM, 12.16.2010