Countering Age Stereotypes In The Job Search.

Q. I’m a well-educated professional with 20 years experience in my field. I have been trying to find a full-time job for the last three years with no luck. Is it possible that some employers find me overqualified, or that my salary would be too high and they would rather hire a more inexperienced candidate?

A. You raise a very important point. Most candidates assume it’s their age. Candidates will say, ‘‘Employers don’t want to hire me because I am 52.’’ Or, ‘‘The hiring manager was 30 years old and seemed intimidated by my 20 years of experience.’’

Age discrimination does exist, but sometimes it is not simply the age of the candidate. Very often employers see a candidate with 10, 15, 20 years of experience and assume the candidate will request a very high salary. Other times it is the stereotypes that many associate with an older candidate. We cannot change your age or years of experience but we can counter these stereotypes.

Here are ways to better compete with less experienced candidates:

Demonstrate flexibility. Explain that you are flexible with respect to working conditions and job responsibilities. Avoid comments like: ‘‘At my age, I am not driving to Boston.’’ Or, ‘‘I don’t want to sit behind a phone and make 100 calls per day. I did that 20 years ago. I want to focus on higher-end selling.’’

Consider deleting early experience from your resume. You can summarize your early experience as ‘‘Other Experience’’ and exclude dates and details.

Explain that your compensation expectations are reasonable. In this economic environment, many employees make less than they did just a few years ago. Focus on the total offer, not just the base salary. The commute, benefits, role, and work environment are all important factors.

Be diligent about follow-up. Ask for the job.

Present yourself in a contemporary way. Ditch the 10- year-old suit. Talk about current trends and technologies in your industry.

Good luck. I do predict an uptick in hiring in 2012.

Patricia Hunt Sinacole is president of First Beacon Group LLC, a human resources consulting firm in Hopkinton.  Source:  Patricia Hunt Sinacole at the Boston Globe.

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About Buzz Smith

Welcome. My name is Charles “Buzz” Smith and I’m the SR Curmudgeon of Consulting Services at OPI National Outplacement. My role, in addition to agitating our sales personnel, and consultants is to take the lead on delivering outplacement and career transition services that are effective. I blog about career stuff when my wife of 40 years, Linda banishes to the garden.

Posted on December 27, 2011, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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