Help Wanted from Boomers: Who’s Seeking Track Records Over Tech Skills?
If you’re a jobseeker over 50 and concerned about your chances for finding work, be sure to take the time to read this special post by guest blogger, Brendan Cruickshank. An experienced recruiter (you’ll find a brief bio below), Brendan really knows his stuff. And, before you go after the employers he recommends, be sure to check out Land the Job You Love: 10 Surefire Strategies for Jobseekers Over 50. By targeting the right companies and presenting yourself as the valuable candidate you are, you’re sure to shave significant time off your search!
Baby boomers have been fighting “the man” all their lives. So why stop fighting when “the man” –or your mother-in-law or sibling or adult child or whoever—thinks you should retire just because you’re around that age? When “retirement age” was set years ago, life expectancy was lower and people were older—and more medically frail—after the age of 60 than they are now.
Fortunately, these days “the man” is likely to be a Boomer and to appreciate the maturity, experience, and wisdom that an older hire can bring to a job. There are recruiters out there who are actively seeking older job candidates. Why? A growing number of executives now realize that when they hire a Boomer, they have a win-win situation: an employee who does not need to be trained, who has already “been there and done that” when it comes to making the mistakes that new employees would normally make, and who can literally hit the ground running the first day on the job.
If you are looking for an employer who will appreciate your proven track record – and who will trust that you’re a quick study who will be able to pick up whatever technical training may not have been a part of your education, as you need it—consider these possibilities:
Universities. Traditionally, universities value knowledge and wisdom more than youth and “beginner’s mind.” According to the AARP’s “Best Employers for Workers Over 50,” Cornell University, MIT, George Mason, Oklahoma City University, Virginia Commonwealth University, Harvard, the University of Pittsburgh, and the University of St. Thomas are especially good options.
Schools. School systems don’t look at job candidates in quite the same way that universities do—but in the end, they are looking for the same thing, age and experience. Older staff members give schools a better public image and give parents the assurance of knowing that their children are being educated by a group of people who have many decades of experience educating the young. Taxpayers feel safer sending their children to schools that are being run by people who are older. So do families who are paying tuition for private schools.
Banks and other financial institutions. Again, here we have an image issue. Banks, insurance companies, brokers, all want to project an image of conservatism and tradition. It’s hard to project that image if your employees are all twenty and thirty somethings. Financial institutions want their patrons to feel that their money is in good hands, the hands of people who have been trusted to handle money since time immemorial (no, you’re not that old!). Try First Horizon National Corporation, Securian Financial Group, the Nevada Federal Credit Union, Blue Cross and Blue Shield, Pinnacol Assurance, Dentaquest, Acuity, S & T Bank, FCCI Insurance Group, Union Bank, and FINRA (again, the AARP’s favorites).
Government agencies. Bureaucracies tend not to be searching for the trendy and innovative. They are more likely to want to hire someone who knows how things are done and, particularly if the bureaucracy is part of a government, someone who has the maturity and judgment not to do anything that might have adverse political ramifications for the agency. According to the AARP list, again, some of the best government agencies around the country for Baby Boomers include: the National Institutes of Health; the City of Glendale, Arizona; the federal Department of Veterans Affairs; the Georgia Department of Human Resources.
Nonprofit organizations. Whatever can be said about government bureaucracies and their appreciation for age and experience goes double, or possibly treble, for nonprofit organizations, who must be even more politically cautious in order to keep the funding that they receive from the government and/or from other organizations and special donors. Some organizations must walk a fine line politically – and they need leadership that comes with a solid measure of common sense and experience. According to the AARP, the YMCA of Greater Rochester, the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association, San Antonio Lighthouse for the Blind, F.E.G.S. Health and Human Services System, and Winston-Salem Industries for the Blind are good options.
Corporations. Whether they hire older employees or turn to older consultants, corporate America values experience. It’s partly that corporations also have image problems, and need to market themselves as being steered by mature leaders. But it’s also the fact that older employees do have more experience – and that typically, not much you can throw at them will faze them. A few companies are especially well known for their appreciation of older workers: S.C. Johnson, Stanley Consultants, Intuitive Research and Technology Corporation, Manheim, GlaxoSmithKline, The Aerospace Corporation, Pepco, Solix, Avis Budget Car Rental, MEI Technologies, Intel, Express Employment Professional, and Prestige Services, Inc.
Don’t allow yourself to become a victim of age discrimination—insist on finding a job where you are valued for who you are.
Brendan Cruickshank (Vice President of Client Services) has been involved in the online job search and recruiting industry for over 8 years and has acted in senior client services roles with companies like Juju.com and JobsInTheMoney.com. His advice is often sought on topics in employment and jobs trends from publications including the Washington Post, Forbes and US News & World Report.