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3 myths about older job seekers

Susan Ricker, CareerBuilder Writer

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Big Foot roams the woods of North America. The Loch Ness Monster lurks below the water's surface in Scotland. Hiring younger workers makes more sense than hiring mature ones. Which one of these myths is most widely believed?

Big Foot and "Nessie" may be out in the wild somewhere, but mature job seekers are just as attractive job candidates as their younger counterparts. More experienced, more mature, more reliable -- mature job seekers are the total package when it comes to hiring. So why do employers buy into the notion that their age is a drawback? Learn how to bust three common myths about older workers and get hired.

Myth No. 1: You're out of touch
Perhaps the most common myth is that mature job seekers struggle to keep up with technology and industry trends. The truth is that it's every job seeker's responsibility, regardless of age, to ensure he has the experience and skills needed for the job he wants.

While younger job seekers may receive the most current education, mature job seekers can take advantage of this opportunity, too. If your job search isn't yielding much interest, it may be time to consider attending a workshop or seminar in your field. Tailor your résumé to the job posting's requirements. Research the company and mention specifics in your cover letter. Also note your skills and experience, including your technology capabilities. You can beat this myth and market yourself as the total package. You have experience, judgment and dependability on your side.

Myth No. 2: You'll expect a leadership position
The experience, judgment and dependability that make you the total package may also make you appear to be a high-maintenance job seeker or somebody who expects a leadership position.

Combat this assumption in your cover letter by explaining that you're interested in the specific position and that you look forward to joining the team. You may be moved into a leadership position soon after starting, but don't expect a warm reception if you mention a leadership position as a requirement to being hired. Instead, explain your leadership qualities and how they apply to the job for which you're interviewing, as well as how you'll fit into the company culture.

Myth No. 3: You'll retire soon anyway
The classic "Where do you see yourself in five years?" question makes an appearance at most job interviews, though for mature job seekers, this question may sound loaded. Will you still want to work in five years?

While younger job seekers may respond with a positive answer about how they hope to still be working with their team, mature job seekers may need a more specific answer. Hiring managers may worry that more mature job seekers are looking for a pastime before retiring. Make it clear that the age of retirement is rising and you're looking at this position as an important part of your career. Share how you've previously met your professional goals and how this job will contribute to your other goals. Then, transition to the company's goals and how you're a great match.

No matter your age, you can bust these three myths and present yourself as the total package. Prove that you're keeping up with industry trends, make it clear that you want to be a part of the team, and share your career goals to show your commitment. 

Susan Ricker is a writer and blogger for CareerBuilder.com and its job blog, The Work Buzz. She researches and writes about job search strategy, career management, hiring trends and workplace issues.



Last Updated: 26/11/2012 - 1:02 PM


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