Before I retired, I had the best seven years of my career and was hired at the ripe old age of 57! My boss did not give my age more than a passing glance; he was thrilled to find someone with all the right qualifications for the job, PLUS maturity and someone he knew wanted stability and wouldn’t bolt the following year looking for more money.
The day I was hired was incredible; I had just returned to the Midwest from Arizona, because the job market there was horrible. I had been working two jobs six days a week and having a hard time meeting expenses, so I moved back to where I had grown up; Chicago land. I picked up the want ads as this was 1997 and I didn’t own a personal computer yet. I saw the ad for an administrative assistant to the Manager of Information Services (MIS) and VP at the headquarters of one of the classiest retail chains in the United States (Crate & Barrel). Man, I wanted that job!
I borrowed someone’s fax machine and faxed my resume in the morning; I got a call for an interview within an hour; I had my interview that afternoon with personnel, and only just caught my future boss by minutes before he would have left the building. After I went home to wait, the job offer call came before business hours were over. When it’s the right fit, everything goes smoothly, no matter what age you are.
Now, why was it the right fit? Years of experience, that’s what. One of the best things an applicant over 45 can offer is experience and maturity. There are plenty of companies and business owners who actually prefer employees who have some savvy about life under their belt instead of just fresh from college. Of course, to compete with the brainy college graduates, us older folk need to adhere to a few rules. Here are my 10 tips:
- Keep up a good appearance.Wear fashionable clothes, current hair cuts and styles and don’t stay in a time warp with appearance, no matter how much you loved it.
- Stay current with skills. The more technical savvy an older applicant is the more impressive.
- When writing your resume, only list most current jobs so that older dates don’t catch the eye.
- When listing schools and education training, just list the names with no dates.
- Write a great cover letter, Here is where you can bring in older job experiences and skills without having the dates jump off the page on the resume.