“Age is an issue of mind over matter. If you don’t mind, it doesn’t matter.” – Mark Twain
Generally speaking, it remains a challenge for many to get interview calls on crossing age of 50. And it is’nt that you are not qualified for the position.You might be suitable but it is about managing the general perception that people at that age are not open minded, low on energy levels, not up to date with technology and with different set of priorities at that later stage of a career. However when planned well and by focusing your efforts on the wealth of resources that you are equipped with at an enriched age , you can become a sought after candidate. But it is also good to remember that it’s a process requiring steps to be taken to position you and takes some time before you start reaping the rewards.
Let me share with you 10 things which in my experience you can do which will help:
1] Changing your own mindset : This is the biggest challenge and needless to mention, it is a life long process across our various aspects . Right from your body language to your interactions and inputs, you as an individual need to come across as progressive. I know it is easier said than done , but we also know ‘No pain….No gain’.
2] Prepare a list of Target Companies : Recently when I was counseling a senior candidate from a Legal background, he shared that with his experience of 30 years, he had successfully handled IPO’s at every organization he worked with. I advised him to prepare a list of Companies which were about to launch IPO’s in the next few months and devise a search strategy accordingly. Identifying your area of expertise over years and focusing specific companies in that niche sets the right direction.
3] Active on LinkedIn : With the Digital medium becoming an integral part of our lives today and also of every organization, it helps beat the ‘perception’ – “ You Are OLD” when you are active on LinkedIn. It resonates your ‘learning’ ability to move with the times. Keeping your Profile up- to -date, posting thoughtful updates and being a participant in discussions on relevant groups helps. Few recommendations from younger team members who have loved being led by you is also worthwhile.
4] BLOG : Develop a BLOG of your own. Start sharing your perspectives and years of learning with the readers and the lesser experienced ones could gain value. Just once a month, you may write an interesting article. It helps position you as a brand amongst both, prospective employers as well as companies/start ups seeking management advice ( who can be your potential customers when you decide to do independent consulting at a later stage).
5] Use your Network Resources: At 50 plus, you would have developed the wealth of a strong Network by sheer work experience of so many years. It only means that you need to re-connect with them and activate your relationships . And believe me, with the social media platforms, it is far easier to do so today. The Network Sources can be a big source for leads :
- Alumni Groups ( College, management institutes)
- Former colleagues
- Ex Bosses
- Former Team members
- Professional Associations ( like BMA – Bombay Management Association)
- Teaching Faculty Groups ( in case you have been a guest lecturer)
6] Resume needs to be updated:Your Resume needs to be updated and be with the times ( 2 pager) . The recent past 8 to 10 years experience needs to be elaborated rather than the entire 30 years. Customizing your Resume for each job is critical. It should also reflect that you have kept yourself updated with the use of technology positioning you as a progressive individual. New innovative approaches used by you to solve problems displays you as an enthusiastic ‘learner’. As it was said by Mahatma Gandhi “Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever”. Avoid mentioning skills or experience which might reflect being outdated. Videos are the in thing, not so much of long PPT presentations.
7] Cover Note : This again should capture and focus on points which you as an experienced professional bring to the table. Like Diversity , Maturity of going through the crests and troughs of professional challenges, Great work ethics and Stability in thinking backed by positive results. At the same time the tone and presentation of your note should showcase you as an open minded individual who has absorbed the latest happenings and put them to good use.
8] Speaking engagements : Accept speaking engagements with management institutes, professional bodies and other relevant platforms. Prepare and present unique perspectives with your experience on the subject. It helps you to be top of mind.
9] Energy levels : Needless to mention, a well maintained healthy body and mind demonstrating high energy levels are essential to impress the prospective employer.
10] Being active on Managing Committees : There are management associations or other professional groups which offer a platform catering to the development needs of organisations both big and small . Being on the management committee or leading projects for such groups helps you to position yourself as an active resource for any company. You might do it for free now, but over time, people at the right places see the value you bring to the table and when there is a suitable opportunity, chances of your getting a lead and preference are high.
These TIPS would certainly catch the eye of the prospective employers making you a WISE (not the so called OLD) candidate being sought after 🙂
Would be happy to answer any queries in ‘comments’ below or you can mail me on firstname.lastname@example.org.