Monday, April 8, 2013

Don’t be Older Qualified.

If you’re over 40 and seeking employment, it may seem like you’re hitting wall after brick wall. Believe it or not, in some high-tech circles, 35 is even considered mature in our youth oriented culture. 

Modular Factory Road Warrior racing to keep an appointment
Sometimes we Boomers watch as the doors and windows appear to close all around us. As the walls close in, we feel it limits our prospects for employment even more. But don’t despair. No need to break out the Just For Men or Preference by Loreal hair color or even get a Lifestyle Lift just yet, unless you want to. Instead you might want to consider the following.
Note: the modular factory just might be the best place if you have sales experience, a good knowledge of construction and strong recognition among the builders in your area. You will probably be asked to work “commission only” after a short time on a base salary.
Confront age discrimination straight out of the gate. It‘s important to bear in mind that you may actually encounter subtle or maybe not so subtle age discrimination in an interview. If a prospective employer makes a comment such as, “We are looking for someone vibrant and energetic” (or a similar comment), have a smart retort of your own in mind, so you won‘t be left speechless or react defensively. Don’t miss your stride. Have a comeback such as, “If you were to ask my colleagues at my last job they would tell you I can keep up with the best of them. I pride myself on my vigor and energy on the job. I’m always on the cutting edge of new technology. I have a wide range of experience in the industry and work very effectively.” You can even give an example.

Highlight the benefits of being an older worker. There’s no need to deliberately hide your age. You’ll be found out sooner or later anyway. Your wisdom and experience in life and in your profession is something to be proud of. You have probably attained and climbed the ladder of success to the level you have hoped to attain. Many times older workers are the ones who will be the loyal ones, having achieved the status they have been striving for during their working career. With that said, many younger workers are making the ascent up their career ladder and may jump to the next rung of another employer at the next best opportunity. Who can blame them? Let a prospective employer know you will be the stable one; a loyal team player who wants to work and remain with their organization for the long haul. Emphasize the positive and show your strengths. Never go on the defensive or be ashamed of your age and wisdom. The elephant in the room may be that you’re a seasoned worker but let it work in your favor instead of against you. Confront it with grace before someone else dares to do otherwise. 

It is also important to remain flexible. Don’t be afraid to take a couple of steps back for the opportunity to move a few steps forward to land a position. Maybe you will go back to something you did 15 years ago, in order to have doors open for you. Perhaps you will be overqualified for the job. It may not be the perfect position but it is a position. Consider the alternative. Clearly emphasize your experience and expertise, as well as adaptability. Do not downplay your accomplishments. Keep in mind it is important to let them know you are a flexible team player. Be clear and upfront so you can find the best position that fits you faster so you don‘t waste your time or theirs.

Another twist is to consider telecommuting positions. Most employers appreciate a 40 + employee because of their experience in these type of positions. This gives them the advantage over youthful job seekers. There has been a 400% increase in telecommuting jobs since 2007. Most of these positions are posted online and much of the interviewing is done over the phone. All prospective employers see is your excellent resume and skill sets as opposed to  potentially judging you because of your age. You can find telecommuting jobs in almost any industry.

Last but not least, you might want to consider investing in a makeover. It doesn’t have to be a drastic one. Starting a new job is the perfect time to make a change in your appearance as well. It’s easy to get stuck in a rut in a look that is stagnate and outdated. Employers like well polished employees who don‘t look like they‘re stuck in the past. They don’t want someone who looks like they hit their prime during the George H.W. Bush Administration and is stuck there.

Perhaps you can update your wardrobe with a few new pieces, lose that last ten pounds and get a trendy new hairstyle. All of which can help you look and feel younger. It may sound frivolous but it can be a real confidence builder. You know that when you look good, you feel good, and it shows. So don’t be afraid to try something new. And yes, if you’re so inclined, this might just be the time to try Just For Men or Preference by L’oreal hair color. Oh, and by the way, if all else fails, you can throw in a Lifestyle Lift for good measure. Not that you need to but it sure can’t hurt.

Cathy Sage is President of Robert Sage Careers, LLC; an Executive Search Firm and Job Board Publisher that specializes in the Factory-Built Structures Industries. Cathy can be reached at (727) 504-5350 or at  For more information about the company and to visit the job board access;       


Ibgreen said...

Hey Coach, how long have you been riding motorcycles?

Coach said...

That's not me. It's a local lawyer chasing an ambulance.