According to a report just released December 11th from theÂ Bureau of Labor Statistics, more older workers will be entering or remaining in the work force.
“As the members of the large baby boom generation grow older and continue their trend of increased labor force participation, the number of persons age 55 years and older in the labor force is expected to increase by 12.0 million, or 43.0 percent, during the 2008-18 period. Persons in the 55 years and older age group are projected to make up nearly one-quarter of the labor force in 2018. Young people (age 16-24) are expected to account for 12.7 percent of the labor force in 2018, and persons in the prime-age working group (age 25 to 54) to account for 63.5 percent of the 2018 labor force.”
So what does that mean for your job search right now? Now is the time to re-learn why you are such a valuable employee and be prepared to brush aside the assumed stereotypes of older workers. While these vacancies may not materialize overnight – companies will still outsource and find more productivity to make up for increasing vacancies – they are inevitable and those who are prepared will be picked up.
So, here are 5 tips to use in your search:
1. The Best Defense is a Good Offense. Lead with the strengths you bring against younger workers. For one, your work ethic is sterling. Many employers want people who know common courtesy, show up on time, and do what they say they are going to do. There is also wisdom and common sense, which seem to be getting scarcer these days.
Also, you’ve been there. Those disasters with product introductions or unhappy customer situations tested you and taught you how to successfully manage them. That’s valuable. Use it!
2. Show Me the Money! You have something younger workers cannot buy: results. You’ve been there, done that and hopefully you’ve tailored these accomplishments to the employer’s needs. Instead of saying “I have 25 years of experience” – honestly, they don’t care – say “I’ve saved over $n million dollars through my disciplined and rigorous expense management”, or “I increased market share by $n hundreds of thousands of dollars over 5 years from a process improvement I implemented.” Money talks and, well, you -know-what walks. Results speak volumes – just be sure you can back them up.
3. Be the Hired Gun. You know you can do many different jobs, probably better than many of the people in those positions. But don’t say that to the hiring manager. You are wise enough and savvy enough to have done your research on the industry, company and the position. You know the problem the hiring manager needs solved and how you are the solution to her problem. Don’t deviate – “oh, I can do this, and I can do that, and I can do windows, too.” You will be the best person for the job – period.
4. Tailor Your Resume to the Position. As in the above tip, research the position, then tailor your resume to fit it perfectly. That doesn’t mean you have to start over – you should have several resume templates you can fine tune to match a particular position.
Just look at it like you are the hiring manager. Would you want to interview you based on your resume? Remember – that’s the only purpose of your resume – to get the interview. Does it go back and list all the jobs you’ve had since college? If so, cut them. Just go back 10 years or so, focused on quantifiable accomplishments. You should highlight your education – just don’t put the year you graduated.
5. Be the Wily Fox. Use your strengths – your experience, problem solving, people management, sales or customer skills – to your advantage. Go back and re-live your accomplishments – they are real. That exercise alone should make you feel great and valuable. Use that feeling to give yourself the confidence to convince yourself you deserve this job. If you don’t believe you deserve it, you’ll never convince the hiring manager.
What other techniques do you use to gain an edge over younger candidates?
JP McDermott is a financial services and insurance advisor in Walnut Creek, CA. specializing in career transitions. He is also a career and financial coach, a freelance writer on career coaching with SF Examiner.com, and has been volunteering his time and experience to various non-profit, service and civic organizations. JP lives in Danville with his wife Candy.
Check out his LinkedIn profile http://www.linkedin.com/in/jpmcdermott