“In about an hour, I’m interviewing my grandfather,” joked the recruiter to me. He was a top recruiter who wouldn’t have granted an interview if the applicant wasn’t qualified.
After the interview, I asked how the interview went.
“Grandpa did good,” he said. “I’m scheduling him to meet with the hiring manager.”
I smiled with relief. Within a few years, I was turning forty and would qualify to be called a grandma by a younger recruiter.
As a former corporate recruiter who runs a resume and interview preparation service (www.cjuliet.homestead.com), I know that even the most qualified applicant can encounter age, race and gender prejudices within the workplace. While I believe that only God can change the hearts of man, I can certainly offer 4 tips based upon my expertise to assist the over- 40 job seeker with landing a new job or promotion.
1. Flaunt your accomplishments not your job longevity.
“I’ve been doing this for (enter the number) years. I know what I’m doing.” While these comments may impress your mother and a few of your friends, no discerning manager or recruiter will promote or hire you based on the length you’ve been doing a job.
A discerning manager or a sharp recruiter will look at your current skills and past accomplishments during your number of years on the job. In fact, while longevity on the job was viewed as loyalty in the past, today working in one position for too long is viewed as stagnation. Recruiters or hiring managers may wonder the reason you haven’t progressed to another level.
On your resume or during the interview, when boasting about the number of years on your job, don’t forget to incorporate your accomplishments.
2. Improve your skills relating to your profession, especially your technical skills.
Stay updated with the latest certifications or what is hot in your industry. Even if you have not obtained the certification, let the hiring manager or recruiter know that you are working toward this goal.
Regardless of your industry, technology plays a vital role. Too many over-40 job seekers try to advance in their careers without the basic computer and software skills. If you are not computer literate and are unfamiliar with the basic software programs, contact a local technical school in your area. Most offer short-term classes for beginners.
3. Sharpen your interviewing skills through preparation.
The old adage practice makes perfect holds true only for training in sports and rehearsing music but also for sharpening your interviewing skills.
You may have prepared yourself by knowing about the job description or the products and services of a company but how do you come across when stating these facts. Do you sound as if you are reciting memorized facts? Practice giving clear and concise answers to frequently asked interview questions.
Good interviewing skills can be achieved with practice and patience. Consider not only investing in a good resume writer but investing in the services of a good interview preparation coach or specialist as well. It’s worth the time and can mean the difference between whether a recruiter grants you a second interview or a polite rejection.
4. Update your hair and wardrobe to conform to this decade.
Okay, I’ll admit that I am a former blast from the past hair and wardrobe offender. I only applied this important tip within the last few years since getting married at age 40 and giving birth to two wonderful daughters. I won’t side-track you with this story but if you want to learn more, visit www.inseasonmom.org
While you may be comfortable with your 1970s or 1980s hair and wardrobe, the rest of the world does not think you look chic. You look older and dated. Don’t allow your appearance to distract the recruiter or hiring manager from your accomplishments or from getting your new job or promotion!