4 interviewing tips for older job seekers

by Vault Careers | August 31, 2011

Older job seekers may have a resume ripe with experience, but when it comes to today's competitive job market, age may not always work toward their advantage.

mature professional  working on a computer
Vault recently posted information on what overqualified jobseekers can do to make themselves more attractive in today's job market.  We also touched upon ways in which older jobseekers can tweak their resumes to be more relevent today.  The reason?  In many industries, being older can work against job seekers who may appear to be out of touch with emerging trends. So, now that your resume is up to snuff, there are a few steps older workers can do to highlight the advantage of hiring a more mature candidate.

1. Stay relevant

Job seekers with 20 or more years of work experience need to be able to show how their qualifications make them the best candidate. Human capital manager Ben Hawkes told the Wall Street Journal that older seekers need to stay up-to-date with industry development and technology, as well as show diversity.  Don’t give the impression that you have been doing the same job everyday for 20 years, Hawkes told the news agency. It's important to highlight how you have moved up the ladder and added new skills along the way. 

2. Be flexible

Many hiring managers may consider an older candidate set in his or her ways. These jobseekers need to break that stereotype as soon as possible in the interview process by showing their willingness to learn new things, and that they are comfortable with change and can adapt to different environments.  One example might be to brush up on your social media skills.  Coming in with an idea that Facebook and Twitter are just fads immediately shows hiring managers that you are out of touch and unwilling to change with the times. 


3. Show off networking skills

Older job seekers need to demonstrate that they are well connected in their industry. Hawkes said that candidates have made important contacts over the years, they need to emphasize that during an interview in a professional way. He said that older job seekers can name drop, but they also have to be careful to not brag about who they know in their business.

4. Be confident

Director of work force initiatives for CVS Caremark Corporation Steve Wing told MSNBC that one of the biggest obstacles holding older job seekers back is low self esteem. He told the news agency that many workers who have been at one job for a long time lack confidence when they try to get back into the market.

"When someone is downsized or a facility closes, there’s a fear factor. They’re thinking, ‘What am I going to do?’ And some of them don’t know how to work a computer or need help with their resume or interviewing skills," Wing added.

He continued, noting that older job seekers need to show they are confident that their skills match a job description and be ready to prove why during an interview.

Don't be too confident.  That could work against you, but the right confidence coupled with a strong skill set, a good knowledge of the industry and its players, and the desire to learn new things will help you stand out from your competition and get you on the right track for a new job. 

--Published Courtesy of Brafton

Filed Under: Interviewing | Job Search


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