You need a job.
You’ve got lots of experience. You’ve been in your field for over 25 years.
But on the other hand, you’ve got lots of experience and have been in your field for over 25 years.
These young HR interviewers will take one look at you and see only one thing: AN OLD PERSON.
This is what a lot of mid- and late-career job searchers feel when they embark on a job hunt after working for a while. They’ve been told that middle-aged workers will not be hired.
I’m here to tell you that despite what you may hear from your friends in the workplace, and what you might read online, YOU ARE HIREABLE. Now let me tell you why:
Reason No. 1: You understand what it means to have a job and be part of a larger organization.
You’ve been doing this for a while. You have the wisdom to work through problems and set priorities. You have learned many things on the job, and you’re still learning.
Reason No. 2: You are a professional. You have proven you have a solid work ethic. You are loyal to your team and your employer. You respect the organization, and you think twice before calling off sick. In fact, you’re in better shape than younger colleagues, because you know how to balance your life better. You get enough sleep. You know the importance of health.
Reason No. 3: You are more settled in your life. Studies have shown that older workers actually have fewer crises and miss less work. Their children are grown. Their parents may also be gone, so they aren’t taking care of anyone but themselves.
Reason No. 4: You are not a newbie. You know how to learn. You already have a considerable number of “wins” to prove that you have skills that can help your new employer.
So how do you show an employer that all of this is true?
Well, for starters, brush off your attitude. Trust me, it will show when you go into that interview! Come to terms with any grudges or bitterness you’ve collected. Let it go!
Then, update your look. Get some newer business clothes. Ask a personal shopper to help, or a trusted friend. Look online and see what people are wearing. Get a fresh haircut. Maybe some fresh color. Women: You might hate this, but freshen your makeup look. I know it's a double standard. But it's also THE standard in an office setting.
Get on social media. Opinions aside, you need to be there. It shows you can work with technology. At minimum, get a LinkedIn profile. Look around and see what others are doing with theirs. It should talk about your accomplishments with your past positions and contain a modern, fresh statement about your value.
Get help if you need it. Recruiters and employers will look to see if you have one. They will read it. They will share it.
And get a fresh, professional photo! Show yourself to best advantage. Photos are essential. Employers are known to pass you right by if your profile doesn’t have a photo.
When you get into the interview, be ready to answer the objections that might arise. Here is how to respond to just a few:
"You seem a bit overqualified."
“I know it might appear that way, but actually, I’m already experienced at solving some of the challenges of this position.” Give an example. It’s really a bargain for them. They will save a lot of training dollars.
"Do you know how to use social media?"
I actually use my LinkedIn almost daily to find out trends in the market and share ideas. And I’ve got about 500 Facebook friends. In fact, just last week, I connected with someone from this great organization…” etc.
"How do you feel about working for someone younger?"
“I’ve worked for many different bosses, of all ages. I enjoy all kinds of people and find great value in their insights.”
Remember, there are only two reasons that an employer will hire you: To make money. Or To save money. Come prepared to talk about how you’ve done these things and you will overcome many objections. You have a great advantage here! A recent graduate cannot say this. Neither can someone who has been working only a short time. You could write a book on the greatness you’ve imparted upon the broken world.
Feel better now?
You are not old. You are experienced. You offer great value. You have a great work ethic. You have the time to devote to the job. You are loyal. You have accomplished a lot. And here’s one more validating fact: A survey by Addecco revealed that employers overwhelmingly prefer to hire people who are middle-aged, because they know their professions well.
If you’d like to learn more about how overcome ageism and get hired, send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.