Older Worker - You've Got A Leg Up On The Whippersnapper
Older Worker, Maturity Rules
If you're an older worker in the middle of a job search, yes it's tough going head-to-head with candidates half your age. Hey, want to know something they don't? Wait - you already do. You're packing around a warehouse of practical life lessons that could be invaluable to an employer. And more...
If you're an older worker sitting in a waiting room full of young applicants for a job opening at Gizmo Synergy, it's easy to get discouraged. Mere babies half your age slouch in their Armanis. They communicate in a hip dialect from another planet. Their phones have apps that give them the LA Times on a screen the size of a thumb print. You get a call on a phone the size of a shoe. It's your wife. Pick up milk and fiber powder on the way home. You have to fight to keep your two leaden wingtips from walking your 50-year-old butt out the door and down to Green Pastures Retirement Ranch to see if they've got a room with your name on it.
But wait. Workers in their 50s and 60s actually have some advantages over those young whippersnappers with their shiny laptops and lack of digestive issues. Memorize the following and keep them in mind when sitting across the table with that hiring official.
Older Worker Advantages
1 - You've Got Superior Judgement. Over the years, you've born witness to any number of trials and tribulations as they've played out in business. You've lived through the good decisions and suffered through the bad, of both companies and individuals. It's the everyday stuff of life that puts a fine edge on judgement, and yours has been sharpened like a barber's razor.
2 - You Play Well With People. You've seen the best of folks, you've seen the worst of folks. And everything in between. You've sat on both sides of the customer service desk, the training desk, the hiring desk and the firing desk. You've come to empathize with people of all stripes, and you understand that people not only make the world go ‘round, but they make economies and commerce and business go ‘round. And businesses go ‘round best when they play well with people. Whether it's calming an irrational customer or persuading a skeptical client on the benefits of XYZ, older workers have people skills honed from years on the front lines of life. Those skills are a valuable commodity - and not something youth can buy at the app store.
3 - You're More Grateful. Truth be told, the older worker is usually more grateful for the job than the younger colleagues who surround him. Older workers are fully aware of age bias in the marketplace, and they are likely more appreciative of the chance to be working, period. And that appreciation often translates into more work and better work. The older worker is less likely to complain, to habitually show up late, to request personal days off. And more likely to step up to the plate when it's crunch time.
Older Worker vs Whippersnapper - Whose Got Life On Their Side?
OK, eyes wide open: competition in the job market is fierce. But just because you're older doesn't mean you can't compete in that market. You've accrued a lifetime of common sense, people skills and practical business knowledge. Older worker, turn your thinking around until you understand that age and maturity are on your side.
That maturity offers a company the chance for a worker who is less likely to act impulsively at a critical moment. Less likely to jeopardize company dollars, accounts, prestige. More likely to stay focused on the larger picture, steering projects and teams and work-a-day activities away from the constantly threatening ditch of petty details. That maturity is more likely to translate into dependability, into reliability, into an employee who's there when the company needs him.
The door opens and you're being called into the interview room. The gaggle of fresh-faced 20-somethings peer over their iPhones and sniff, watching the old man, wondering if he's going to detour to the restroom first. That's OK. Lift a foot up onto the Armani pant leg next to you and tie that wingtip tight and proud.
Leave a good impression.
David Alan Carter is a former recruiter and the past owner of Resume One. Writing for TopResumeServices.com, Carter has put together reviews of the Web's most popular Professional Resume Services, reviewing quality of workmanship, spelling out their pricing, and giving each a star ranking. C-Level executives will appreciate Carter's take on Executive Resume Services.
Three books that I feel are particularly helpful to older job seekers...
"Career expert Matthew J. DeLuca reveals the secret agenda behind every kind of question interviewers ask, and prepares you to answer them all." -- Editorial Review
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