I’ve often been asked over the years “Why do companies want to hire younger employees?” and “Why am I not being considered for the position I’m perfectly qualified for?”Executives

Lately I’ve been hearing these questions in greater frequency so I want help provide 5 key areas to overcome this perceived hurdle.

More often than I’d like, I hear candidates say “I’m sure I won’t get this position because I’m too old.”

Let’s examine this a bit and see if we can help you remove it from your lexicon.

As a job candidate, your perceived age is a product of how you present yourself, approach your job search, and how current your knowledge is.

The 5 keys we’re going to explore are:

  1. Presentation/Personal Image
  2. Resume/Qualifications
  3. Social Connectivity
  4. Flexibility
  5. Hire-ability

Paying attention to current trends and leveraging them to find gainful employment doesn’t need to be a daunting task.

1. Presentation – How do people see you?
It’s important to pause and look in the mirror and consider how others see you.  You can not underestimate how important your presentation affects others.

Hairstyle: Take a look at the latest styles and really look at your haircut and design.     Consider asking your stylist to make a recommendation for you.  Having an updated hairstyle can take years off of an old image.   Sloppy, outdated hair makes someone look unorganized and like they don’t keep up with themselves.    Get rid of the hair rollers and use a flat iron – it updates the hair.

Fashion: Update a few pieces of your wardrobe and find clothing that is flattering and consistent with current fashion trends.   Your wardrobe can speak volumes about your preparedness, motivation, and how well you belong in the modern workplace.  For women, purses that are organized, neat and tidy will make you look that way too.    Add a scarf for color and you can do a lot to make yourself standout  in a positive way.

2. Resume

If you have not created a resume in 15+ years, things have changed a bit.    You can no longer just hand out a couple of resumes and expect to get phone calls instantly.   There are a lot of well qualified candidates in today’s job market  and you need to highlight your competitive edge.   Doing this shows the hiring managers reviewing your resume the key reasons they should hire you.

It’s imperative that your resume match the specific position and skill set that the employer is seeking.  For example:   If an employer is seeking a specific skill or accomplishment that you possess,   then it needs to be positioned at the top of your resume.

Positioning and summary statement:  Think of your resume as your agent presenting you to hiring managers.  Your summary or positioning statement is how you want your resume to focus the hiring manager’s attention.  Failure to use this tool in your resume leads to your last job positioning you to your next potential employer.

Your summary statement sets the tone and highlights the theme that binds your accomplishments.  The summary describes what makes you qualified and yet differentiate you from others who may be aiming for the same position.

  • If I have a summary, does the very first line position me for the kind of job that I want next?
  • Is this followed by a statement that elaborates on the first statement?
  • Have I included a statement or two that give the reader an indication of my personality or my approach to my job?

3. Social Media Sites

We can resist all that we want but the world is moving ahead and we have to move ahead too.  Wether an employer is seeking an  Administrative Assistant or a CEO, they want to know that their potential employees embrace the latest tools in technology.

If you don’t have one, create a LinkedIn account and update the information with your latest career specifics and a current picture.  Often times a potential employer will look at your LinkedIn profile and see how it matches your resume and the position you’re seeking.

Learn the basics of using Skype: Many firms are conducting initial phone interviews and then using Skype for their second interviews.  There is little worse than appearing inept during an interview for a position that would set your career path on the right track.

Have a cursory understanding of Outlook and all of the calendaring and appointment setting features it has to offer is becoming more important than ever.

You may consider a 7-day free trial from Lynda.com as a training source to expand your technology skills and brush up on skills that may have been dormant for a while.

4. Flexibility

Quite often employers get an opening that they have to fill instantly.   Being at the right place and right time and ready to interview will give you the upper hand in the hiring process.    Not dwelling on your past and your past companies positives and/or negatives shows your flexibility to fit into a new company and embrace the future.

Prepare to know your start dates, end dates and your reasons for leaving.   Have references that a client can call instantly and be able to know that you are a solid candidate.

5. Hire-ability

As experienced staffing professionals, we’ve learned to look past the tangibles and see those hard to define strengths that make an individual a good employee.   These are the factors that lead to an employer choosing to extend you a job offer.  Many job seekers are unable to accurately identify their unique strengths while going through the process of seeking a new position.  Now that you’ve earned years of experience in the workplace, your strengths have been refined and perfected.  Now more than ever is the time to leverage those strengths to land your next position.    It is all about being prepared, willing, current and ready to find that new position regardless of your age.

Leave a Reply