“Can you still find a job when you are over 65 years of age?” I get that question asked of me a lot when I meet job seekers of my approximate age, and my answer is “Yes You Can”, and that is based on experience that it can indeed happen, experience I gained from talking to Seniors and Boomers and even Boomers+ who have landed great jobs and/or positions, even though they were not ‘Spring Chickens’ anymore so-to-speak.
Yes you can definitely still find a job, even if you are over 65 or even close to a Septuagenarian, but as you probably know, or have already found out, it is not going to be as easy as it might be for someone 20 or more years younger than you are. The reason it will be more difficult have to do with two of the ways in which HR Managers and HR Personnel may look at you and/or at your resume.
- One is age – definitely a factor
- The other one is what is called “over-qualification” (more on this later)
Even though of course age should not be a factor in considering you for a position, it appears that in quite a few cases it “is” a factor, or may well be one and the reasons for it can be multiple (more on this in a next article).
Of course no one will ever tell you that the reason you are not being hired, or being considered for a position, is due to your age (as that is illegal and would be a reason for a discrimination suit and Companies avoid any reference to what is not legal to ask or say like the plague). However when approached in the right manner by yourself age can work “for” you, rather than against you. What I mean here is that you have to “sell” the HR Person on the “benefits” of your age.
Another way in which Hiring Managers, or HR Personnel, will “look” at you, and at your resume, is what is referred to as “over qualification”, another word for saying “you may have the experience needed for the job you are applying for, but might be a hiring risk”, something any HR person wants to avoid like the plague. Indeed, hiring the wrong candidate is a minus on their personal success sheet, and is a costly proposition for their Company. Both of these perceptions are never expressed of course, but are in the back of their minds (at least in a large percentage of them).
Lots of qualifications, lots of jobs, lots of experience, combined with your age factor put you in a category that is, to say the least, “at a disadvantage” when compared to many other candidates who applied for the same position, probably a lot younger than you but many with the kind of qualifications the HR Person is looking for. And, as you know, in the current economic environment HR Departments now receives hundreds, if not more, resumes for each job they post.
Your task in getting interviews, and acing the interview is, therefore, not going to be as easy as you might expect it to be but, with your experience and age you have quite a few factors working to your advantage, not the least of which is self-confidence and experience gained about interviews, as you may have gone through several during your career.
Before getting into interviews though we need to deal with getting to that point, meaning actually getting an interview, either a telephone one, or a face-to-face one. Given the already stated current economic environment, Businesses are in the “buyer’s” position (meaning there are so many applicants that they can be more choosy). Indeed, Companies receive more and more resumes for each position they post or advertise, and can as a result, be far more choosy than they used to be.
For Companies the choices of candidates abound right now and that is probably an understatement. With unemployment still in the high percentages many many are looking for jobs. Note: Companies and their HR Departments also receive many applications that do “not” fit the job requirements for those jobs, and such resumes are immediately eliminated from consideration even if they meet the job requirements partially, say 70 or so %, but do not closely fit them enough (it is said, as I indicated before, that Companies are now looking for a 90% or more fit with those job requirements).
This was actually confirmed to me at a recent RUMC Job networking meeting I attended. RUMC are associated with the: Crossroads Network another organization that helps Job Seekers of all ages and walks of life. RUMC is located in Roswell, a close suburb of Atlanta, Georgia. Their meetings for Job Seekers are attended by well over 350 participants and are scheduled twice a month (check their website for more details). Another online source you may wish to consult is: Job Seekers .org.
Should you need more specific information you are welcome to email me and ask whatever question you may have, and I will be more than happy to respond and give you answers to your questions or concerns, that is if I have them, or if I do not I will direct you to a source that does.
Seminars and lectures usually start at 1:00 pm and run all the way up to 9:00 pm with each seminar or lecture lasting about one to one and a half hour. You can find the schedule of all the lectures and assistance/help they provide on their website: RUMC Job Networking.
If you live in the general Atlanta Area I strongly recommend that you attend their meetings and learn from the experts who are there to help you in structuring your job search, helping you with you resume, your Linkedin page (which you should have printed out and take to the meeting), interviewing, and your overall approach to finding a job.
Multiple lectures are given. Here are a few of them:
- Finding a job for Boomers
- Bring your Linkedin info printed out and they’ll review it
- How to write successful and attention capturing resumes
- How to start your own business
- How to really Network
- Getting an Interview
- How to dress for success (when going to an interview)
- Network yourself to the Top
- Writing Business Plans
- And many more and the lectures vary (check the website for details) RUMC Job Networking
- Note that you can participate in a free dinner at 5:45 pm, augmented by a Guest Speaker (a $3 donation is accepted and suggested but not necessary)
Of course as you may have surmised that this RUMC is located in the Atlanta area but if you do some searches on Google, or Bing for job Networking at United Methodist Churches you may find that similar programs exist in your area. From what I am being told this activity is not limited to the Roswell one I referred to.
Now to your resume or your online application: The closer your qualifications, abilities, strengths, accomplishments, etc. come to what the actual job description requirements lists, the greater your chances are that you will be put in the pile of resumes to take a closer look at, and as that pile gets weeded down you are more likely to be called for a phone or face-to-face interview. Mind you, list only what you have truly accomplished. Don’t exaggerate your achievements.
Be 100% truthful (remember HR People will check Social media, and if they find discrepancies between what you state on your resume and what is listed on the Social Networks they check e.g. Linkedin, probably Facebook, and many others where you may have posted and where your profile is listed. They may even check your Twitter Feed.
Since HR people will not bring up the age and qualification issues (if we can call them that), the best thing to do is for “you” to bring them up and explain how they can be an asset for the Company you are or will be interviewing with, and how they can benefit them. Since you will be the one bringing them up, either in your resume in a short format, or during an actual interview, it becomes alright for the Company to discuss them with you further if they wish to do so. By addressing the let’s call it “reservations” HR people may have yourself you are giving yourself the ability to point out why your age and your qualifications may be an advantage for the Company you are applying to, and not a “negative” or perceived “negative”.
Hiring Managers may consider Boomers and Boomers+ as being a risk and here are some reasons:
- You may be perceived as a flight risk
- You will soon want a higher position
- You will want more pay
- You won’t respect a younger Boss
- You may be difficult to manage
- You may be inflexible and not “moldable”
- You may be seen as not being a Team Player
- They may think you do not have the energy needed for the job
- You may lack ambition and drive
- You may be transitioning to retirement and not stay with them for long
- and there are quite a few other thoughts that may go through their minds.
Below are some facts that you may want to use that will offset the perceived negatives mentioned above”
- “Sell” your experience and wisdom
- Explain that you are not a flight risk
- Focus on your advanced skills gained over the years
- Explain that you are company politics savvy and can deal with them
- You are loyal and you have the kind of work ethic they are looking for
- You are a fast starter and learn quickly
- You can adapt easily to a new work environment
- Less training is needed if you are hired
- Not having kids at home may be an advantage (less absences)
- You can be a mentor for younger workers and employees
- You have industry connections
- You need less supervision
- and so on.
In your resume cover all or some of them in a short manner as you can only make your resume so long (too long is not suggested). In phone or face-to-face interviews you can obviously elaborate some more. All or some of them are meant to get the perhaps negative perceptions HR Personnel may have about you and your application. Use them wisely and to “your” advantage.
By bringing up the possible known concerns listed higher up you are basically tackling what a Hiring Manager may see as a hiring obstacle and you can take the lead in alleviating those concerns.
A lot of advice … hopefully you can use all or some of it to better your job search and land a position. I welcome any comments you may have.