Looking for work in today’s competitive job market is not an easy task. This is especially true if you are a jobseeker of maturity. Ageism is real and the negative stereotypes of hiring older workers can present substantial roadblocks to your success. Yet, despite the challenges grey hair brings, there are certain key strategies you can use that will highlight your skills, emphasize your professional strengths and make you attractive to potential employers.
And yes… with the right attitude and effective ways to market yourself, you can even turn your age into an advantage. The following are four key ways you can present your age as an asset:
- Come from a position of strength.
Focus on the positive aspects of age. Do not feel diminished or at a disadvantage because you are an older applicant.Rather, be proud of the wealth of experience you bring, the challenges you have faced and overcome, and the well-honed skills you have accumulated over a lifetime. Emphasize your mature work ethic and your people skills. These are just a few of the assets of age.
- Market your maturity. Both verbally and in writing, make employers aware of the specific strengths you bring as a result of your age and your experience. These can translate into bottom-line results for any organization. Some examples:
- You have extensive market knowledge, are well aware of the competition’s strengths and weaknesses, and bring with you a wealth of contacts and potential customers.
- Due to your considerable background, your critical thinking and problem-solving skills are likely superior to those of younger workers.
- Your ability to communicate (both your interpersonal skills and your written language) far excels that of younger applicants.
- You have life skills gained over years of experience dealing with people. You can get along with others, know how to manage your emotions at work and you realize the importance of being a responsible and contributing team member.
- You are less likely to be thrown by difficult situations. You have handled your share of sizeable crises and resolved significant problems many times over the years.
- You are not necessarily assertively climbing the corporate ladder so you won’t pose a threat to the more aggressive up-and-comers. Supporting your boss and the goals of the company are at the top of your list.
- You have the knowledge and ability to mentor younger workers and teach them the valuable techniques and tools that translate into ongoing success for the organization.
- You tend to be more appreciative of the job, complain less and require little, if any, supervision.
- Present your skills in a comprehensive manner.
You’ve done your job for years and you know you’re good at it. Nevertheless, if you are unable to name and describe your skills with ease and confidence, you won’t be able to attract employers. So think about your skills in a comprehensive manner and write out a list in each of the following three skill categories:
- Your knowledge based skills, education and/or specialized training:Consider the types of training and formal education you have had for your work. How will your background and specific technical skills benefit the organization?
- Your personal traits and strengths:What makes you unique as an individual? What is your work style? How do you interact with fellow employees? What added value will you bring to the company by just being you?
- Your transferable skills:How can the skills you have acquired in previous jobs transfer to achieving in a new position? Are you good at organizing and coordinating? Are you a leader? Are you skilled at coming up with innovative solutions? Do you show initiative?
- Present an enthusiastic, can-do attitude.Your attitude underscores every aspect of your job search. As an older applicant especially, you will want to stress the fact that you are willing to try new things, possess the required technical knowledge, and are flexible to meet the goals of the organization.
Watch your nonverbal messages. Make certain to use good posture, maintain eye contact, have a firm handshake, and smile.Choose clothing that is modern and shows you care about your appearance — this includes eyewear and other accessories. Your goal is to exude an aura of confidence, energy and personal warmth. The nonverbal messages you send play a major role in how well you will project a winning attitude.
Above all, remember that age does have its advantages. By following these four keys, you will be well on your way to demonstrating your unique value as a jobseeker with confidence and maturity. You know your stuff, you’ve got experience, and you come with life skills and a mature work ethic. You will be an asset to any team or organization that has a need for someone with your talents.
So present yourself as the valuable candidate you are — get out there, anticipate success, and land yourself a great new job!
And for more tips and strategies, don’t forget to check out Land the Job You Love!