While it's true that not all employers will be gung-ho about hiring, or even retaining, older workers in the coming years, the overall statistics might well be on your side if you're 50 or older. The limited numbers of younger generations simply will not match the rising need for workers over the next 10 years.
This means that employers will be forced to look at alternate labor sources. Sure, they can outsource, further automate or contract their staffing ranks, but this will not suffice in all cases.
The plain fact is that you hold many advantages over your younger colleagues, but you're going to need to play your age to your advantage. If you have a few years under your belt, here are four tips to use age as an advantage in your job hunt:
Go on the offensive
Too often, older workers think they have to apologize for their years of actually working. Remind yourself that you're experienced, not old; you're seasoned, not over the hill; you're here and now, not history. It's all about spin and reframing, so drop the apologies.
You may be older, but you're not stupid and you're not dead. Use your savvy to sell against youth and inexperience. There are benefits to being older, like having wisdom, common sense and a long work record of accomplishments that you can translate into benefits to the employer. In other words, sell your track record. During the interview, take advantage of your successful work history and draw from those successes to meet the needs of the employer.
Sell results, not years
Realize that hiring managers today are looking for results, not years. Talk the language that an employer understands and appreciates: return on investment. Instead of citing 20 years of experience, identify the benefits to the employer and put them into monetary terms as much as possible. Back up your accomplishments with facts that are benefit-based. Sell them from the perspective of the result and how it benefited your present and previous employers.
Money talks and it talks loudly. Here's some good news: Money can trump age. As an employee, you either make money or save money for your employer. If the hiring manager doesn't see your value in one of these two categories, then you don't want to work for this company. In this recession, if the company isn't concerned about its bottom line, then it may not be around for long and isn't a viable option for you anyway. Get as close to money as you possibly can through the language of your accomplishments, and list them on your résumé.
Wear just one hat
While you may have accumulated experience in a number of areas, don't confuse the person reading your résumé with all the different roles and jobs you performed over the years. Focus only on the job title for which you're applying. Tell the hiring manager what he wants to know and nothing more.
Most likely you've worn many different hats during your career. If any of your duties and experiences don't directly address the job title's requirements, don't emphasize them. In fact, remove them from your résumé entirely, if possible, as they will only give employers another reason to screen you out, and you don't want that. This is your story. Tell it your way. Magnify only the aspects of your background that are relevant to your target objective. You want to focus your résumé to reflect yourself in the most positive, powerful ways possible.
Modify your résumé
Take another look at your résumé. Ask yourself, "Would I hire myself for this position?" Spin your story in your favor by reworking your résumé to emphasize your strengths. Make sure everything on it relates in some way to your desired job objective. Drop older job titles. You generally shouldn't need to show more than 10 years of work history. Any prior work is most likely irrelevant now and will take the reader off track. Remove obvious road markers, like dates. For example, remove college degree dates and other older professional training dates that may go back more than a few years.
As a recruiter, Joe Turner has spent the past 15 years finding and placing top candidates in some of the best jobs of their careers. Author of "Job Search Secrets Unlocked" and "Paycheck 911," Turner has interviewed on radio talk shows and offers free insider job search secrets at: http://www.jobchangesecrets.com.
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