Before I retired, I had the best seven years of my career and was hired at the ripe old age of 57! My boss did not give my age more than a passing glance; he was thrilled to find someone with all the right qualifications for the job, PLUS maturity and someone he knew wanted stability and wouldn’t bolt the following year looking for more money.
The day I was hired was incredible: I had just returned to the Midwest from Arizona, because the job market there was horrible. I had been working two jobs six days a week and having a hard time meeting expenses, so I moved back to where I had grown up; Chicago land. I picked up the want ads as this was 1997 and I didn’t own a personal computer yet. I saw the ad for an administrative assistant to the Manager of Information Services (MIS) and VP at the headquarters of one of the classiest retail chains in the United States (Crate & Barrel). Man, I wanted that job!
I borrowed someone’s fax machine and faxed my resume in the morning; I got a call for an interview within an hour; I had my interview that afternoon with personnel, and only just caught my future boss by minutes before he would have left the building. After I went home to wait, the job offer call came before business hours were over. When it’s the right fit, everything goes smoothly, no matter what age you are.
Now, why was it the right fit? Years of experience, that’s what. One of the best things an applicant over 45 can offer is experience and maturity. There are plenty of companies and business owners who actually prefer employees who have some savvy about life under their belt instead of just fresh from college. Of course, to compete with the brainy college graduates, us older folk need to adhere to a few rules. Here are my 10 tips:
1) Good appearance:
Keep up a good appearance. Wear fashionable clothes, current hair cuts and styles and don’t stay in a time warp with appearance, no matter how much you loved it.
2) Stay current:
The more technical savvy an older applicant is the more impressive. Do you have a Facebook account to keep in contact with your family?
3) Recent jobs:
When writing your resume, only list most current jobs so that older dates don’t catch the eye.
4) Education on resume:
When listing schools and education training on your resume, just list the names with no dates.
5) Great cover letter:
Write a great cover letter – here is where you can bring in older job experiences and skills without having the dates jump off the page on the resume.
READ MORE: How To Start Your Cover Letter With a BANG!
6) Be you:
Just be you – be proud of your maturity and place in life. Compared to some of the newbies entering the job market, it will be refreshing.
7) Be honest about your plans:
Are you hoping this is your last job before retiring? Do you want to get at least 10 years of experience? Would you like to grow with the company as long as possible?
8) Stability factor:
Make sure the stability factor of you never leaving to get married, have a baby, or succumb to head hunters in the race to the top comes up in the conversation.
9) Age is an asset:
Without being phony, make conversation in the interview about the product, company or business in a mature way. Let your age be an asset.
Above all, appear confident and not needy. YOU have a lot to offer and they will recognize it.
Footnote: My prior jobs that allowed me to acquire all the skills that helped me become the CIO and VP of MIS’s one and only assistant, were:
- A bowling center league organizer (age 30)
- A key puncher and Data Entry Operator
- A Computer Operator
- A Programmer-Analyst (age 40)
- An Entrepreneur running my own retail establishment
- A Realtor Assistant
- A Sales Trainer (age 50)
- An Admin Assistant to Development Managers (2)
Author: This post was written by Exertus Jobs – the best job site focused on presenting employment opportunities to the over 45s. It was launched in February 2013 and the site covers the whole of the UK. Photo credit: © gillianvilla