Many job seekers over the age of 45 have dire hopes of getting hired. Why? They’ve read about it, they’ve seen it in the media and they’ve been hearing about it for years. It’s an ingrained “truth” in our culture that companies don’t higher older people. But it’s not necessarily true.
Like any myth that we hear time and time again, this misunderstanding can lead to a vicious cycle–If you think it’s unlikely you’ll get hired, you’ll bring that negativity and despair to the interview with you and a good old-fashioned self-fulfilling prophecy will happen.
So what’s a job seeker over 45 to do?
- Avoid Fear:
Forget what you’ve heard; there’s no reason to fear job seeking in your 40’s (or beyond)! Workers in this age group have knowledge, wisdom and experience. Not only are you likely to be an ideal candidate, companies aren’t bypassing older applicants like they may have done in the past. The marketplace needs a larger workforce than is actually in supply; rejecting candidates due to age is a luxury many companies no longer have.
- Prepare Properly:
Conventional wisdom says it’s important to arrive at a job interview with a detailed list of achievements. The good news is that the older you are, the longer and more impressive the list is! Don’t forget to highlight special skills, areas of expertise and the ability to handle challenges and conflicts in the workplace.
- Be Flexible:
One of the main concerns employers have when hiring older employees is that the individuals may not be flexible enough, or that they may find it difficult to learn new skills. They worry that older applicants are so set in their ways that they may not be willing to change. Let them know you’re ready to learn! Your energy and excitement should be on display at your next interview.
- Befriend Technology:
Technology is unavoidable these days, especially in the workplace. Having a basic understanding of computers, familiarity with Microsoft Office, as well as Internet and email proficiency are essential in any workplace. Also, make sure to read up on the latest trends and be aware of any technologies specific to your field.
- Demonstrate Value:
No matter what caused you to move on from your last position, it’s likely that by this time in your life, you’re used to being paid well for your work. You probably expect similar compensation in your next position. And why not? You deserve it. However, new employers may not fully grasp the depth of experience individuals over 45 possess and the value they can contribute to their organizations. Show how past knowledge and skills directly relate to the new position and that the organization will advance more quickly than if they were to hire a less experienced individual.
Job seekers over the age of 45 bring valuable experiences and vast arrays of knowledge to organizations. Don’t miss out!