Time was that being ‘old’ in the job market meant 70, maybe 60. Now, when you hit 40, you can be considered ‘over the hill.’
It’s mostly because of stereotypes. Even though people are living longer and healthier lives, employers still worry that an older employee will cost more money for healthcare. They also believe, wrongly, that older employees won’t understand technology. Many organizations think that people who didn’t grow up in the digital world can’t or won’t adapt fast enough. And finally some employers just see the divide between Baby Boomer and Generation X or Y as too great for effective teamwork.
So, say you are 40 or so, or 50. What do you need to remember when applying for a job?
1. Don’t give your age away! Make sure your resume doesn’t date you. Omit your graduation dates. Especially if you graduated before the recruiter was born. Include only ten to fifteen years of experience, any more will show your age.
2. Look good for your age, or younger! Gray hair, a 20 year-old suit and an ‘80s tie was okay at your last job but now it dates you. Get a professional makeover so that you look your best. Impressions matter!
3. It’s illegal under federal law for employers to ask you about your age — but that doesn’t mean they won’t try. Watch out for questions that ask you to detail your career history with dates. You may be giving your age away when you say, “Yes, I was at Microsoft for 20 years.”
Interviewers cannot ask questions about your family, but they still do. “So, what does your family think about you taking this job and moving?” “They’re all grown up. I’ll miss the grandkids.” Dated yourself! These types of questions can be finessed: prepare and rehearse.
4. Overcome the age barriers an employer might have. Show that you are healthy and well. Employers are nervous about older candidates because of the cost of health insurance. Talk about running a marathon, coaching Little League, the yoga classes you take. Give examples of how you work well with younger people — a potential employer concern that you may need to address in your interview.
5. Show why you are the best candidate. Have great but succinct stories that highlight your experience, success and its relevance. Do your research in advance to show your insight into their issues and how you can add value.
6. Hit stereotype-based fears up front with humor. Make a joke of your age if that feels right for you. It could be the elephant in the room that you need to feed a banana! Take out your iPhone and pretend you don’t know how to use it — and then show that you are a whiz with the latest app.
Of course, humor can be tricky, so rehearse your ideas with a trusted colleague. Employers sometimes think that older employees can’t work with technology so prove them wrong, and cite an example of a recent job problem you solved using technology.
Good luck in your job hunting.” end of article.
Wow, some great tips there. Wjat are your thoughts on being over 40 and returning to work, or even just working. Personally I am retiring at 55 🙂