I am not going to deny that there is discrimination. Yes, there is!
However, all is good for hiring seasoned or mature talent. Often, it’s not age that is inhibiting recruitment of so called ‘over the hill’ candidates; it’s attitude, your interpretation or perception, plus an ineffective job search strategy and execution.
Firstly, you should have a rock-solid business case on your value add and differentiator, supported by an outstanding performance-driven ATS friendly resume, and a striking, fully complete LinkedIn profile.
Then, work on these top tips to help you, as a mature professional, to outperform other generations and capture new appointments across any industry and function:
- Rewrite your resume
All seasoned professionals have an array of performance related stories to share in a resume. We hire based on your hard skills and your past accomplishments, so be overt and openly communicate how you have made money, saved money, eliminated head count, streamlined operations, introduced SAP and so on.
Don’t be shy, because your accomplishments will increase your competitive edge over the younger applicants.
Finally, ensure the format complies with the Applicant Tracking System (ATS) scanning application which is very particular.
- Get a grip with technology
Technology powers business today. You may not be as fluent or confident in using various technologies as the Gen Y or Millennials, but you need to be acutely aware of what each technology can do, and what its benefits and pitfalls are. There are many online and college courses available today to provide the basics and more. If a company requires some knowledge in an application or other technology that is unfamiliar, use the web, and in particular YouTube, to bring yourself up to speed.
- Register for continuing education – professional development
Learning doesn’t halt at a certain age. It should be part of your personal career management plan to keep abreast of the latest trends in your area of expertise. Keep up with your designations and the continuing education credits you require to maintain that designation. Look around for other learning options at universities, colleges or through your industry related associations.
Kickstart continuous learning as a component of your ‘Over the Hill’ job search strategy.
- Be flexible
Even when jobs are plentiful, recruitment can change rapidly, and in bad economies jobs become scarce and the competition intensifies. In these times, employers are looking to save costs.
One suggestion might be to serve as a contractor rather than a full-time appointment. It’s worked in previous downtimes; no reason why it won’t work again. Have that proposal ready to articulate.
- Elevate your image impact
As we age, so does our visual appeal, at least that is for the majority. First impressions count — it’s the first few short seconds during an in-person meeting that can blow your chances of advancing further in the search.
Be acutely aware of your physical appeal, deportment and attire. If you have facial hair (yes, I hate to say it, but) shave, keep your hair neatly trimmed, stand tall and gesticulate as if you were 20 years younger.
Does your attire portray you as a hippie or punk rocker with sneakers? Or are you dapper in the latest cut suit, new shirt, tie and shining dress shoes? Be sensitive to your clothing — make an investment, it will pay off.
Finally, a smile and handshake cost nothing. Check your handshake with friends to ensure that it’s not like a limp fish and or a wrist twister!