The greatest challenge among mature job seekers (forty-five and over) is overcoming the age barrier.
Keeping their age camouflaged in cover letters and resumes is key; however, mastering the skill to write without unintended hints is a unique talent, especially when writing about one’s self. I suggest after writing your Cover Letter and Resume you have one or two total strangers read them attempting to evaluate whether or not the subject appears as mature. Most times, even though direct references are carefully avoided, indirect or subliminal references of maturity generally find their way into the mature writer’s style.
Frankly, I believe employers are missing out on the most valuable sector of available workers. Below is the best of many reasons why mature employees are a better choice.
- Greater stamina and determination.
Most times mature employees work out of financial necessity or because they find staying busy is mentally and physically beneficial. Understand how challenging it is to acquire jobs at their more senior ages; they are less apt to take jobs lightly. On the other hand, many younger employees, whose lives are for the most part socially active, may consider their jobs subservient to a multitude of other interests. They are aware that at their younger energetic ages and income needs, finding new jobs is thought to be not so very difficult.
- They are prideful of the deliberate high quality of their performance and it is generally apparent that they work because they want to more so than have to.
For mature employees there is the consistent precept of competing against younger counterparts. I know from experience how gratifying it is to win tennis matches competing against players some twenty or more years my junior. Mature employees enjoy a tremendous ego rush when they are recognized or commended for outperforming their younger counterparts. Their counterparts however, generally feel that older employees haven’t the stamina or smarts to compete. Moreover, the tendency of them is taking themselves for granted. Mature employees cannot afford to make such ill-advised assumptions.
- They’re more reliable, consistent, and punctual.
Couple of reasons for this: For the mature worker the job is at the top of the “important” list. It supplements income (retirement, social security, etc. – could even be the sole source); their less active social schedule is relieved because having jobs maintains their sense of contribution and keeps them mentally adept. The importance of being on the job and the fear of being vulnerable to lay-off encourages demonstrations of commitment, dedications, reliability, consistent focus and punctuality. “If I am let go, it won’t be because I broke rules, failed to do my job, or in any way contributed my departure.”
- They offer problem-solving and mathematical skills from years of experience.
Experience for many recruiters seems generally overlooked when faced with interviewing confident, well-seasoned, and mature candidates. Developing analytical skills is an overtime enhancement process. Like many things, proficiency improves with repetition. It is proved over and over; when any task is consistently repeated it is likely to evolve into a habit. Realizing there are both good and bad habits, mature employees have generally discarded the bad and have learned to benefit their employers’ mission practicing only the good. The advantage of developing and practicing good habits is the heightened performance and results they produce. Of them, they are more likely to be accurate, timely, appropriate, and extremely profitable.
- They’re not always looking over their shoulder for the next better paying opportunity.
Mature employees tend to be less concerned with growth than they are in maintaining financial stability and/or productive activity levels. They enjoy interacting with others and may even benefit socially as a result of the workplace. And of course, there is no reason for jealousy, envy or other such destructive and professionally useless emotions. As such, they think more day-to-day, whereas their younger counterparts think a great deal about growth, opportunity, and the future.
- Their priorities have shifted.
They don’t face the same financial stresses as younger workers. Mature employees are a valuable learning resource for younger ambitious employees. Observing their more mature counterparts, they may view examples that might enhance their people skills, and many other developed qualities and characteristics that have improved to levels of excellence because of the tenure. Supported data suggests that mature employees are not only the most tenured but work they highest average number of hours per week. This proves as they claim; they are very capable of meeting the challenge.
Alex Pratt, The Fairmont Copley Plaza’s regional director of human resources stated, “We wanted employees with more empathy. We’ve found that more tenured workers are more inclined to be empathetic. In our restaurant we have older workers who have owned restaurants and are successful in their own right. They still very much want to work, and they bring genuine warmth to the job. Some of our people work two jobs. They seem to have a passion for what they’re doing; and from that we benefit.”
As a mature candidate seeking employment, it is imperative you arm yourself with as many benefits and positives as you can remember and list with which to make the point that choosing you over younger less seasoned applicants is a decision of good judgment. Most times interviewers will be junior to you; some significantly so. Since age is perceptive to the age perceiver, establishing value without referencing age difference, either pointedly or by insinuation, is the right agenda.
Since interviews are nothing more than sales opportunities your agenda must be centered on solutions rather than qualifications. We don’t buy based on nuts and bolts. We purchase because that we select solves needs and wants. Most buys are made emotionally. Since feeling “inspired” is an emotion and inspiration drive most decisions, including hiring decisions, it is incumbent that you attempt inspiring those before whom you interview. Inspiring people are believed to be more credible, genuine, committed and dedicated; reliable, dependable, honest, and influential. These, among others, are great qualities for a myriad of job designations; they are also important and valued human qualities. There is but one way to inspire others, “Sizzle them.”
“SIZZLE” is that which results in solutions, benefits, productivity; growth and profits.
What “SIZZLE” is not: bells and whistles (age, appearance, skills, assets, characteristics, attributes, emotions, etc.)
Can you become compelling? If you can be compelling, communicating your ability to provide solutions, benefits, productivity, and growth and profits, the only reason you may not offered the job will be that another did a better job than you selling “SIZZLE.” What are the chances?
“Obstacles are those frightful things you see when you take your eyes off your goal.” – Henry Ford (1863-1947)
“If you buy into the age barrier; having others believe it is irrelevant never sells” – Arnie Sherr