Interviewing for Baby Boomers (Ages 52-70)
The job market may be predisposed to hiring younger candidates however, complaining you lost the job to a younger person is merely an excuse. Confidence, connections and reputation are everything when competing at any age, especially later in life.
Being over 55 or 60 says you are seasoned and wise, not old. Your age implies you have made mistakes and hopefully, learned. You have experience to pass along to those coming up the ranks with less. Your life knowledge essentially positions you as a team player, a resource. Inherent in age is a foundation to help others as they navigate and attempt to climb the proverbial corporate ladder. The company's very core and bottom-line, are direct beneficiaries of hiring workers with a great depth of experience.
Interestingly, more than half of 2016 presidential candidates are over 52: Hillary: 68, Trump: 69, Sanders: 74, Kasich: 63, Carson: 64, Jeb!: 63, Christie: 53, Fiorina : 61, Huckabee: 60... hardly "over the hill."
Just as we judge and "interview" candidates for the preeminent job posting in the country, if not the world, in terms of mental alertness, adaptability, endurance and physical stamina, so do we judge company applicants.
Given, 55 percent of your presentation to the world is visual, appearance cannot be overstated as a first impression. Particularly as we get older, the basics: sleep, good nutrition and regular exercise are even more important to physical and mental well-being. The results are telling and often speak volumes about self-discipline, a respected quality in business.
Age may be a number, but you are truly as old or young as you feel. Attitude is everything! When you project a vibrant, positive image, demonstrate grace under pressure, resilience and flexibility in the face of adversity, others migrate toward you as a potential strong team member, contributor, leader. Your age does not diminish that.
Ask someone you trust if you need to upgrade your appearance -- wardrobe, hairstyle, eyeglasses, make-up (ladies). While smile lines speak volumes about your many life experiences, projecting less your personal best says something else altogether. Invest in your personal appearance. Anyone can afford teeth-whitening and as your means allow, facial scrubs, fillers or any facial enhancement that make you feel better and more confident are all good.
- List your contacts and connect with each. Tell them you are looking.
- Personal networking over impersonal job sites is recommended. Get out there!
- Be current with technical skills and au courant in industry knowledge.
- Show flexibility dealing with people and be open to learning new technical competencies which might at first seem daunting; being email savvy is critical.
- Resist the urge to hearken back to "the way things were." Present ideas about what you can do in the future.
- Embrace new technologies and don't hesitate to ask, 'Can you walk me through it?' Learning new things will stimulate your mind and help keep you vibrant.
- Have an online presence.
- List a younger person on your references.
- Delete graduation dates from your resume.
Know that you have developed a personal style and approach dealing with every aspect of life -- and bring a certain maturity, perspective and resilience to the field. While it is illegal to ask your age, you do want them to know your depth of your life experience and how this can benefit them.
Judith Bowman, speaker and business protocol coach, is president and founder of Judith Bowman Enterprises and Author of "Don't Take the Last Donut and "How to Stand Apart @ work." She may be reached at Judith@protocolconsultants.com.