Are you too old to be hired for that next job you want?

Submitted by Mike Doody – Retired after 25 years as a headhunter – executive search consultant and a volunteer Career Coach and Board of Director at Community Career Center

Many of us who are 50+ years old ask ourselves that question (ARE YOU TOO OLD TO BE HIRED FOR THAT NEXT JOB YOU WANT?) far too often! So I thought I would share some random thoughts about this issue.

  • The answer to the question is “YES” – if you let yourself believe it. Or “NO” – if you have the required background, experience, skills (hard and soft), and a true interest in the position and the company.
  • So how do you distinguish yourself as that ideal candidate?  By presenting yourself – on paper in your resume and a cover letter (if there is one), on the telephone screen, and in the interview – with confidence and with specific reasons why you are the ideal candidate. By confidently showing yourself to be very qualified for the position.
  • One of the challenges we often face in this situation is assuming that the hiring manager/recruiter does not believe we are truly interested in the role. “Is the hiring manager looking at me as one looking for any position to land quickly, so I can look for the ‘better’ position?”  To address that, you need to show genuine interest and excitement about the position.  You must show you have researched the role and the company – and that you believe not only that you are a fit for it, but that it is a fit for you.  Show how you meet the requirements that they are looking for. Do that with genuine enthusiasm and excitement.
  • If it appears you might be overqualified for the position, address that issue immediately. Don’t wait for the hiring manager to state: “It looks to me like you might be overqualified; so why do you want this position?” It is better for you to bring this issue up – especially if you are getting vibes that the hiring manager is concerned about it – before you are asked the question. If you wait until you are asked the question, depending on how the question is asked, you may feel as though you have been put in a defensive role when answering it. So, be aggressive (in a professional way), take the initiative, and raise/answer the question before you are asked. Get it off the table as soon as possible.
  • Should my resume go back only 10-15 years, so it does not show that I may be “older”? As with many questions about the resume, there are many answers to that question. But it is your resume, so, however, you answer that question you have to be comfortable with and have ownership of the answer and the resume.  And if you decide to have the resume only go back 10/15 years – instead of including all your roles throughout your career – be prepared to answer the question: “Why does your resume only include the last 10/15 years of your career?”

If it were my resume, I would include all of my work experience, roles, companies worked for in my entire career. Why? Because what you would bring to that position and that which makes you the ideal candidate is the total accumulation of your experiences.  That is what companies you have worked for, what positions you have held, what promotions you have had (if there have been some), what experiences you have had, what skills (soft and hard) you have developed, what accomplishments you have achieved. And all of that, in essence, is what makes you the ideal candidate for that role.

Good luck with your search. Think positive and continue to focus on why YOU are the ideal candidate!

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