Q. Although a potential employer can’t overtly use age as the basis for making a decision, we over-55ers will frequently be passed over for younger applicants. How do you sell your age as an asset when you are interviewing without being overly pushy ?
A. In short, you have to convince the interviewer to focus on your value to the company, not your age. Candidates who can demonstrate value get hired. After all, an employer is buying your services and trying to get the best bang for their buck.
Here are some tips:
Limit your resume to two pages. Consider eliminating early jobs that may not be as relevant.
Include key words that showcase your skills as up to date. Make sure that you have stayed current in terms of technology, industry trends, and experience.
Ask a trusted colleague for advice and feedback on your resume and your job search.
Don’t make it easy for a recruiter to eliminate you. How? Comments like: “I won’t go into Boston anymore.” Or, “I don’t have the time to learn the newest version of that software. I went to a training class in the ’80s, and that was enough for me.”
Stay up to date. Some of my clients perceive some e-mail addresses, such as an AOL.com, as indicative of someone living in the past.
Talk up current experiences. People who reminisce about companies that vanished long ago are not perceived as vibrant candidates.
Check your clothing and appearance. Make sure that you are not wearing a suit that you bought in the ’80s.
Think about compensation. If you last made $70,000 and an employer is posting the job with a $50,000 price tag, is $70,000 reasonable? If another candidate will take $55,000, then think about your salary requirements. I find sometimes it is not a candidate’s age, but rather their salary requirements that scare off the employer.
Be energetic, willing, and enthusiastic. This is perhaps my most important tip. Companies want to hire engaged candidates, of any age.
Patricia Hunt Sinacole is president of First Beacon Group, a human resources consulting firm in Hopkinton.