Hire Me Because I’m Older — No, I Won’t Get Pregnant

Printed from: http://newbostonpost.com/2017/07/13/hire-me-because-im-older-no-i-wont-get-pregnant/

In the war against ageism, here’s a few bombshells to toss when you’re competing for jobs:

“I won’t be taking a maternity leave”

“I won’t need blocks of time off to cover school vacations”

“My salary doesn’t need to start at the top, because my major expenses are paid off”

Those are just three of many advantages mature workers bring to the work environment. 

At mid-life, rather than fear comparison to fresh-faced millennials boasting only of over-priced degrees, market your gray halo, smile-lines, and wealth of experience with pride. After your first successful career, why dread the process of finding the next job of your dreams?  Seniors who promote their candidacy with the facts-of-life are bringing a refreshing new wrinkle to the face-value of their job application.

The rush to fill lunch boxes, beat the school bell, and make the afternoon circuit of games, dance lessons, and tutors is over.  Seasoned workers aren’t struggling with the home/work/life balance thing anymore. Replacing chaos with calm, older workers have the time and ability to focus on a job and do it well. They are the gold-standard of employment.

According to Judy Bottkol, career navigator at JVS Career Solution, age is a distinct advantage in the work environment.  Speaking with a group of experienced workers in a roundtable discussion at the Harvard University Ed Portal, the 68-year-old thought-influencer included as many bullet points as anecdotes aimed at the realities and misconceptions of age-prejudice in a job search.

 

 

Rhetorically she asked, “Who knows what age retirement should be anymore?”  As a society, we are living longer, healthier, and more vital lives than any generation in history. Offering practical suggestions, and tips on how to answer awkward questions, Bottkol helped build an arsenal to shoot down society’s arbitrary acceptance of a retirement age.

She began by encouraging seniors to focus on how they see themselves, then question how others may see them. If you think you’re fit and fabulous and you’re sure the clothes you’ve worn for a few years are still fine but people stand to give you their bus seat, it’s time to evaluate outward appearances! First impressions always count, and yours may say “I’ve had a really long day.” Let your look evolve. 

Additionally, she asked if internal negative dialogues are becoming self-fulfilling prophesies. Do you think you’re too old or inexperienced for the job you want? Bottkol suggested quieting those voices by assuring yourself it’s highly unlikely an interviewer will see those same foibles or be as critical.  She also recommends reflecting on markers of age-bias in your speech pattern such as “When I was your age,” “That’s not how I like to do things,” or “Young people today.” If these subtle forms of prejudice crop up in your speech, shift perspectives and make an action plan away from anything confirming pre-conceived notions that seniors are inflexible.

It’s essential to update your resumé and give it a contemporary look. Resumes are not history lessons. It’s better to begin one with a summary of qualifications, including key words and up-to-date training in your industry, rather than objectives. Job titles and recent achievements should be listed with the dates on the right rather than the left to minimize a time-line effect, and eliminate dates entirely from the education section. It’s also suggested to use contemporary sans-serif font styles when writing, such as Avante Garde, Calibri, Helvetica, or Verdana — rather than Times New Roman, which appears as worn out and old as an Aol.com address.

If necessary take a tech-skill course to build an on-line presence. Google yourself. Establish or refresh your profile on Instagram, Linked-In, Twitter, and Facebook with pictures that highlight your active life. Because one thing often leads to another, volunteer in job-related fields.  It’s also wise to blog on industry trends. As recruiters rely increasingly on applicant-tracking systems that scan to eliminate the bulk of resumés, personal networking is more important than ever.

To make the most of your efforts, target positions in industries that are age-receptive, such as education, health-care, and non-profits.  If you land an interview with a younger person, approach the conversation with humility, asking questions about the company’s vision and mission. To minimize the age disparity, convince the interviewer you see yourself as a partner in those goals. You’ll add value because you are not job-hopping for upward mobility — you want this job, not the employer’s job. And point out that because skill sets are frequently transferable you won’t need costly training and can hit the ground running.

The conversation at the Harvard roundtable ended optimistically, reminding the group that maturity is often a God-send. That’s certainly what 155 passengers aboard a 2009 U.S. Air Airbus thought as 58-year-old Captain Chesley Sullenburger safely ditched his jet into the Hudson after a bird strike disabled an engine. Like Sully, 60-year-old broadcaster Katie Couric, 64-year-old president of Brigham and Women’s Hosptial (and chief medical adviser to the National Football League) Dr. Betsy Nabel, and 71-year-old President Donald Trump are compass points of our society. Epitomizing experience, vitality, industriousness, and work-ethic, they’ve earned their positions of responsibility over time. Today, these gold-standard workers continue to inspire the revolutionary now evolutionary spirit of American enterprise — at every age.

 

Diane Kilgore writes about graceful aging and other matters for New Boston Post.

See her articles on body images for post-menopausal women and on The Intern, a successful Hollywood movie about a retiree written by a 65-year-old woman.

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