Job searches are often difficult enough without throwing curveballs into the equation like age. But age is definitely a factor, even at the executive level where one would think that expertise would be valued over all else.
If you’re over 50 and are running into problems being considered for positions at the executive level, you’re not alone. The good news is that you don’t have to fall victim to it. Instead, you can utilize some great tips to showcase your viability in your chosen industry.
Let Them Know You Know People
One great way to convince a hiring manager that you’re the right person for the job is let him know that you know people. While there are some pretty impressive young overachievers out there who run to networking event after event to meet everyone in their industry, it’s still difficult to build solid relationships in a short period of time.
This is where being you becomes a bonus. If you’ve been a heavy-hitter in your industry for 25-plus years, it’s hard to match the number of solid business connections you have. You most likely have the “right” people on speed dial and can ask for a favor quicker than anyone else in your city. There’s no doubt that connections like these are vital to your existence as an executive. So if you have them, flaunt them – you can bet your younger counterparts can’t do the same.
No One Can Match Your Wisdom
Some employers like the idea of having a young face representing their company at the executive level, but could this young face have 25-plus years of wisdom under his belt? Likely not. In fact, it’s possible that when you were first getting started in your industry, your younger counterparts were just starting kindergarten.
So yes, you have a lot of wisdom and leadership that simply can’t be matched. You’ve encountered tough situations and have utilized superb problem-solving skills to get through them. In other words, you’re not a spring chicken. You’ve been around the block a few times. If you make it to the interviewing stage – where you may suddenly be judged for your older appearance – this is the time to tell some stories of achievement no one’s able to match.
Remember, You Can Make the Company Look Good
Another benefit of you being over 50 and having many years of experience is the credibility you offer the company. While the employer may be superficially looking for a young face, clients and potential partners will likely feel a great deal of comfort in knowing that the senior executive they’re working with is not wet behind the ears. It doesn’t hurt to humbly express this in your cover letter, as well as your interviews.
When you’re approaching executive-level positions as an over-50 candidate, it’s important to remember that confidence is key. If you walk into a situation feeling that you’re over-the-hill, or simply aren’t a viable candidate anymore, it will be hard for a prospective employer to disagree with you. So as you conduct your job search, never forget who you are: a top-level executive with enough connections, expertise and wisdom to blow those young whipper-snappers out of the water.