You're Old, So What!
Getting older is a fact of life. Some may say that you are only as old as your attitude allows. Employers throughout the world have varying opinions on what is too old to continue working. There are differing laws that regulate age discrimination in employment. Given all of this, it is important for you to understand what an employer desires when filling a position.
Employers are concerned about reducing costs and making a profit. When considering applicants for a position, they try to determine which candidate will help them save the most money or help them make the most profit. If you are perceived as not being a profitable choice, you undoubtedly will not be selected.
You may be older than others who are applying for the job, but you possess valuable skills that will contribute to the success of a company. Your years of experience have given you opportunities to refine your skills and gain knowledge about problems that may arise. Your challenge is to demonstrate to the employer the contributions you can make to the success of the company. So how do you do that?
The following are some suggestions to help you focus on the contribution you could make to a company rather than your age:
- Within your own mind, refuse to obsess about your age. Being overly concerned about your age will make it more of a barrier than it needs to be. Radiating a negative attitude because you are sensitive about your age will be felt by those you meet.
- Don’t try to hide your age. Leaving dates off of applications or résumés in an effort to hide your age draws more attention to it. Leaving information off of applications and résumés may cause employers to question your work history and your integrity.
- Use effective networking techniques to find job openings. Networking will allow you to communicate the value you have to offer an employer without being screened out of an opportunity simply because of the dates on your application or résumé.
- Create a “Me in 30 Seconds” statement that you can use to make a strong first impression on networking leads and employers.
- Develop a number of “Power Statements” that accurately reflect your skills and quantify the contributions you’ve made in previous work experiences. Once you have developed a list of power statements, you can use them to demonstrate to employers the contribution you could make to their company.
- Use current industry terminology. Industry buzzwords change over time, and it is important to show that you have kept up with these changes.
- Ensure that you are up-to-date with current workplace technology, such as computer programs, for your industry and for the positions you are seeking. Demonstrate this knowledge and competency in your power statements.
Being prepared to demonstrate the value you can bring to a company will help you feel more at ease, positive, and confident when meeting employers and even after you have the job.