This is a topic that comes up frequently in client interaction and presentations across the world. I am over 50 and over-the-hill. Is my career ending?
As a professional executive and career coach, I would say instantly NO! You are wanted by corporate world and you can change your mind set to combat the wide-spread unconscious bias against older workers. Here are some tips on how to mitigate your perception that you are over-the-hill and heading towards the coffin.
Stay Physically Fit
Ensure your physical abilities match your mental acuity. Staying fit allows you to continue to have a young outlook and mindset and keep pace with business and get things done effectively according to mandates. Stay cleared of the skeptics who are determined to bring you down and make you feel inadequate.
First impressions count. Just in a few seconds you can eliminate yourself from a potential opportunity. Be honest with yourself and look at your appearance in the mirror and your attire. Be acutely aware of clothing trends and be up to date. Wearing a suit that looks like a shaggy carpet won’t cut it. You don’t need to spend a fortune on a new wardrobe, having hair implants or a face lift. Look up-to-date and strike them instantly with a positive impression. Hair styles for both men and women change. Again, be acutely aware of today’s trends and for a man facial hair doesn’t help with the first impression, being clean shaven can make your appearance younger.
There is a lot of talk about cultural fit today. It is important to be happy in your career. Sadly, too many people aren’t. Do your due diligence into company’s and research how they treat mature and seasoned employees. Connect with a few older workers through LinkedIn and seek their input.
Be Technically Savvy
If you aren’t acutely aware of how to use the Microsoft Office Suite then you may like to re-visit where you are heading. You don’t have to be an expert but just be savvy on the use of technology and the benefits it can bring to a future employer.
Emphasize Your Strengths and Don’t Hide Your Age
In a resume or other collateral including your LinkedIn profile, be open and be honest about your age but portray yourself as a consistent performer delivering accomplishments and also review your education. A red flag in the hiring process is a lack of formal education at college and university over a lengthy period. There is no excuse today with the advent of online courses and multiple options available at community colleges and universities, to take a short week long, month long programs. Be up-to-date, be acutely aware of your knowledge and be proud of your age.