Even the savviest job seekers will agree that looking for a job when you are over the age of 40 sucks.
Although Companies are not legally allowed to use your age against you when recruiting, the fact of the matter is that ageism in hiring exists, and anyone who tells you otherwise is either younger than you, extremely connected, woefully misinformed, or lying.
Earlier this year, a 2019 Ageism in the Workplace Study revealed some alarming numbers:
We don’t expect these stats to surprise you, because you’ve experienced ageism first hand.
You’ve been actively looking for a job for months, applying to dozens, if not hundreds of jobs. You’re not one of those unemployable job-hoppers; you have real experience and legitimate qualifications that used to be the stuff that hiring managers dreamt of seeing on a resume.
And yet for some reason, you rarely hear back from anyone when you apply for a job online. Or, if you do, it is one of those useless automated responses that promise you that you have equal opportunity to land this job. Riiight.
Land an actual interview? You can’t recall the last time that happened — you must be over-qualified.
If you are frustrated by spending hundreds of hours hunting for a new job without results, you need to know that your feelings and frustrations are valid. You have every right to be angry.
However, if you’re afraid that you’ve been doing something wrong or you’re worried that you will never find your next job… STOP WORRYING.
Yes. Your age does matter — but not in the way you think.
The truth is, you can use your age to your advantage when you’re looking for a job. Read that again.
Your age is an asset in a Smart Job Search. Here’s why.
- You know more now.
- You are more tactful now.
- Your perspective helps you connect the dots.
- You have mentorship and leadership skills.
- You are self-aware.
- Your emotional intelligence is higher.
- You are more responsible, more reliable, and more respectful than younger you.
In other words, you have gotten better with age. So go look in the mirror and repeat after me: “my age is an asset”.
Now, let’s talk about these very real reasons why your age is an asset in a Smart Job Search.
You know more now.
You know more now than you ever have about your industry and role. You have had years to study both. When hiring managers ask questions about industry trends, you don’t quote statistics that you don’t even understand from an article you read. You actually know how to talk about the way that the industry has evolved to where it is now. You have real experience and insight to draw from.
As for your role, you’ve had time to sharpen and hone your technical, business, and interpersonal skills. You don’t require heavy supervision anymore, like someone who is in the early stages of their career. By now, you just know what to do, and you do it well. There is no confusion about what you are there to do, and you make your manager’s life easier because they know what they can expect from you.
You are more tactful now.
There’s no mistaking the fact that politics exist in every organization. You’ve spent time learning how to play the political game, and you now understand how to use diplomacy to your advantage to get things done. You can confidently, sensitively, and authentically navigate tough situations better than anyone — especially someone who is 15-20 years younger.
Communicating effectively upward and downward, working well across functions, performing in high-pressure situations, and bringing people together to get things done… these aren’t things that you learn in college. These skills require tact — which requires practice — which you have. So when a hiring manager asks you how you would handle a situation with a difficult coworker or customer, you can show them using an actual story where you successfully did exactly that.
Your perspective helps you connect the dots.
Your view of your role is more holistic than it’s ever been. Not only do you understand what it takes to be successful in your role, but you know how your role contributes to the success of your organization. You can connect the dots between what you do every day and the organization’s bottom line. Leadership teams everywhere are desperate for all employees to understand the relationship between their individual performance and Company performance — and you get that.
You know your value and worth to the organization, even if you don’t always feel appreciated. Your overall business acumen helps you create synergies for you and everyone around you. This is because you know how you support other positions — whether they are below, above, or alongside you. You understand how your role fits in within the department and across functions, and you leverage that understanding to bridge gaps, build connections, and get things done.
You have mentorship and leadership skills.
You are a high performer with an excellent resume. You have spent your entire career focused on your personal growth and development. You took all of those performance reviews, coaching sessions, and 1-on-1s to heart because you were always driven to succeed. You evolved, and you improved.
By now, you have seen your share of change and turnover. You have always been the employee that picked up the slack in times of change, so don’t forget to tell the hiring managers. You’ve probably helped mentor other employees around you, formally or informally, helping them succeed as well. You have leadership skills by now, too — even if you’ve never led a team — because you’ve led projects, processes, and workflows for years by now.
You are self-aware.
One of the most desirable traits among managers is to have self-aware employees —- which you are. There is nothing more difficult for a manager than to have to coach an employee who does not understand the perception of how they show up at work. You know your strengths and your weaknesses because you’ve had time to study them. You have more life and business experiences, which give you a conscious knowledge of your own character, feelings, motives, and desires.
Since you are so self-aware, you know when to ask for help, and you do, because you care about a job well done. The reputation you have worked hard to build means something to you, and so you do what it takes to maintain that. You know which projects are a good fit for your skills, which will keep you engaged and excited, and which will allow you to grow. You also have the confidence to effectively communicate and suggest new approaches when your skills are not used well.
Your emotional intelligence is higher.
Related to your higher levels of self-awareness, are your higher levels of emotional intelligence. And whether they’ve told you before or not, your managers LOVE this skill in you. You are no longer the emotionally-charged kid that you were when you first entered the workforce. The days of getting into heated disagreements with coworkers have long since past.
You’ve matured in all the best ways, and you can effectively manage and understand your emotions. You know what triggers you, and you know how to handle those triggers. You also recognize the emotions of your coworkers, and because you are so tactful now, you can navigate difficult emotional situations at work. You do this so skillfully that you make it look easy when, for an immature employee, it is anything but easy.
You are more responsible, reliable, and respectful.
At this stage in your career, you have seen it all. You’ve seen technology and social media change the way we do work. You have seen the economic booms and recessions. You remember getting ready for Y2K. You’ve learned that regardless of what is happening around you, that your reputation as being a responsible, reliable, and respectful employee is everything.
You just want to show up, get the job done well, and get back to your life. You care tremendously about your profession, and when you are at work, you give it 150%. You don’t have to be asked twice to get things done, and you don’t have to be monitored or threatened to do your best work. You don’t make excuses. You are counted on. And you care.
There is hope because you are better with age.
It may seem impossible to forget all that frustration you’re feeling from your seemingly endless job search. But the truth is… YOU ARE NOT too old, too expensive, too experienced, or too threatening to land a better opportunity. You do not have to settle and stay in a role or at a company that does not value you.
There is hope because YOU are better with age. Now you just need to believe it.
Your age, skills, experience, intelligence, and character make YOU exactly what hiring managers need today. Now go back to your mirror and say it again, “my age is an asset, and the right opportunity is coming for me — I just have to go outside my comfort zone to find it!”