Age….I was highlighted in the paper recently and the first thing mentioned right behind my name was my age.   I winced.  I work in an industry interviewing people and age isn’t something I can ask candidates about.    I couldn’t help thinking about the relevancy of putting it in the paper.   And just like the candidates that interview for jobs with our clients, I wondered about how others thought about it.   Oh, she is 57, hardly someone that is an “up and comer”.  Or 57, she has experiences and wisdom that has a positive impact on Keyot and the talent she advocates for.

I have a friend who used to say, ” sometimes there isn’t a replacement for time on earth.”

I recently read in a Stanford Center of Longevity report that said “by 2020 older workers age 55+ will account for 25% of the US Labor force.”   We all see an increasingly diverse workforce today and age is only one component of that diversity.   There are often characteristics we hear related to the type of candidate our Clients want to hire…adaptable, flexible, quick study.  Many times it is pre-assumed, that those attributes are exclusive to younger candidates.    We know logically that isn’t necessarily true, but sometimes default to that preconceived notion before the interview even begins, sometimes, before the REQ is written.   We all know people of all ages that are change adverse and inflexible and people of all ages that love learning and growing.  That said, if you are a job seeker over 55, here are some thoughts or tips for your consideration:

  •  Be sure your LinkedIn Picture is professional and up to date.   Ask someone you trust to tell you the truth if it reflects positively on you as a career professional.
  • You don’t need to put your graduation year, especially HS on your profile or resume.   Background checks will pull all that out anyway.
  • Work experience over 20 years ago or maybe even 15 years ago can be condensed in a summary paragraph.
  • Stand up when you do a phone interview.  You will sound more energetic.
  • Avoid negative words that describe your experiences such as back in the good old days, I am old school, and I am a dinosaur/fossil or even back in the day.
  • Use words that paint positive imagery to the hiring manager experiences that are current and relevant to the problem/project at hand.
  • Avoid using experiences that really date you or leave the interviewer feeling like your best years are behind you.  Your best and most relevant example is your last engagement.  Focus there and go backwards are required.  Don’t lead with your story from 10,20 or 30 years ago.
  • Keep your stories to the point.
  • Have examples ready that demonstrate how you stay current on business trends, tools, technology and how change adapt you are.
  • Do use experiences that reflect thought leadership that only comes from doing similar work and knowing the pit falls that can cost time/$.
  • Clothes do matter when you interview.    (OK, this is when it comes in handy to have a daughter who has no trouble saying, “you aren’t going to wear that are you? Or “That looks like a “grandma” outfit.”)  Bottom line, NEW JOB, NEW CLOTHES.  Treat yourself!  It feels good and you’ll present better, trust me on this one.
  • Sound like you love your craft and can’t wait to learn more and make a difference with a new client, industry or new project.

Don’t get me wrong.  I am proud to be a Grandmother.  I am also glad that being a grandmother has little to do with knitted shawls and rocking on the porch today.  57 is the new 47 right?

Last weekend, 4 generations were at our farm canning tomatoes.  It needed all generations to accomplish the task.   One was needed to share the wisdom when canning was a necessity and her father was called truck farmer not an organic farmer.  One had the back breaking work of  picking the fruit.  One had to Google all the latest knowledge and one…well the little 6 month old really just provided the entertainment and a good reason to take a break; but one day!

Wisdom, experience