I’m not 49. I’m 25 with 24 years experience
“My name is Daniel and I live in San Francisco.
I worked successfully for a total of 24 years at a digital company. My performance was rarely questioned, and I was regarded as a valuable team member. One morning at the begininng of this year, I was called in to a conference room with my boss and our Human Resources Manager.
In that moment, due to downsizing operation, I found myself out of a job.
After a week, I updated my resume and LinkedIn profile to find new opportunities. Resumes went out to all the major national search firms, numerous local recruiters, and to anyone in my network that I thought could help me.
I found that many recruiters really liked my background and experience. But when they called me back for the feedback, after long and preliminary discussions turned into job interviews, the only real information they provided was that the person chosen was 15 years younger and about $20,000 cheaper.
I’ve never considered myself as old. I listen to the same alternative music as teenagers. I like to go to disco, pubs, I run marathons every months and I’ve also started a startup in the ICT sector with a friend of my 19-year-old daughter.
In spite of my youthful ways, as these job opportunities played out, I realized that the market sees me as an older candidate.
What can I do to be respected by potential employers ? Should I lie about experience and my age in the resume to get a job?
After a period of internal deliberation I decided clearly that I would not changed anything!
So, I’ve joined networking and professional organizations and attend the meetings and events faithfully.
I’ve continued to do coaching and give my tips to anyone who will listen. I’ve had more lunches, coffees, meetings and calls with total strangers and acquaintances from my distant past than I ever imagined.
I spend countless hours on LinkedIn, researching companies, people and opportunities. And above all, I believe that my experience, my knowledge, my personality, and my way of interacting with others will be attractive at the right time for the right opportunity.
And I will get that job !
As Epictetus opined two millennia ago: “Man is disturbed not by things, but by the views he takes of them.”
It means that I can’t control what happens to me, I can only control how I respond. Infact I defintely choose how I see something, and how I respond.
The world is happening for me, not against me, and when I know that I can make the most of every situation whether it appears as an opportunity or an obstacle. In controlling my attitude towards what happens to me, I can master change rather than letting it master me.
This way of thinking, as stoic philosophers teach us, encourages me to bear unfavorable, unexpected and unwanted situation more calmly and more realistically.
It helps me in fostering a proactive mindset vs reactive mindset. Bad things happen, things go wrong but our reaction may not get us out of our trouble as much as our actions. Lot of people in modern world simply react to things instead of taking proactive measures to solve the problems.
So, age is how we choose to see it and I definitely feel like I’m not 49, but 25 with 24 years experience.”
A classical phrase that very often recruiters and employers say to experienced applicants is : “Sorry, but you’re overqualified”
Instead of ignoring overqualified candidates, employers should view these people as valuable investments for their company. Unfortunately, the great majority of employers aren’t so enthusiastic.
Infact when hiring managers talk about why they’re nervous about hiring someone with tons of experience and proven skills, here’s what they say:
· You’ll leave as soon as you get a better offer:
Hiring managers look at your stellar experience and wonder whether they will have to replace you as soon as another company makes you an offer.
· You’ll get bored with your job:
Employers don’t want you to be bored with the position, feel unfulfilled or unimportant.
· You’ll be unhappy with the compensation:
Employers want to hire the most successful candidate they can. That usually means the employees who will accept the budgeted amount of pay to carry out their job requirements. It makes good business sense. So if they feel they’ll have to offer you more money because of your years of experience, they may pass for a less experienced employee who has similar credentials.
· You’ll make them look bad:
Hiring managers are humans too, and your experience and skill might be intimidating to them.
So, to deal with these stereotypes here’s some tactics Overqualified Job-Seekers should follow:
1. Let your network speak for you.
Nothing is stronger than a recommendation from someone who knows you and can recommend you. The ideal scenario is for you to use your network to find someone within the organization and let that person make the first pitch for you.
2. Do what it takes to get the interview.
Be prepared to deal with the overqualified issue when you call to follow-up your application and try to convince the hiring manager on at least giving you a “meeting” if not an interview so that you can show your case in person.
3. Focus more on skills and accomplishments than job titles.
No matter what your age, the best way to market yourself is to showcase your best attributes and accomplishments, especially the ones that align with the job you’re appling for.
So, when writing your application or resume, make sure you address how your experience can help you achieve the duties outlined in the job description. During the interview, frame your answers around how your best qualities can help your manager achieve their goals and lead to success for both of you.
4. Be open to negotiate the salary, but don’t undersell you
Make it clear from the beginning that you are completely flexible about salary and that your previous salary is of no relevance to your current job-search.
5. Emphasize teamwork and personality.
Demonstrate that you are a team player that the success of the team is more important than any of the individual team members.
6. Demonstrate loyalty.
One method to attempt to overcome the fear that you will leave as soon as a better offers comes along is to point to your longevity with previous employers.
7. Be Humble.
You should illustrate how you are the perfect candidate for the position without overwhelming the hiring manager with your experience or your ego. Avoid intimidating a younger hiring manager.
8. Be Enthusiastic like was the first job, but show your great expertise.
Nothing wins over a hiring manager more than a positive attitude and a passion for the job and the company.
Explain always life experiences relevant to the job, or moments throughout your working life in which you believe you learned valuable lessons.
Animated, engaging people are a pleasure to interview, and you shouldn’t be afraid to sell YOU, your personality and not only your skills.
After that remember to show you are a truly qualified candidate and your experience can help any manager. A great employer will want to surround themselves with expertise that will make their team look great.
9. Keep learning throughout your adult life and stay young
Look into training Courses and attend conferences and seminars. But don’t just go for familiar topics. Pick something which falls outside your comfort zone: even if some of it goes over your head, you’re almost certain to pick up some fresh new ideas. Moreover get into the habit of reading at a particular time of day, perhaps on the train, during your lunch break, or before dinner in the evenings.
If you ignore the importance of continuous learning, you’ll miss opportunities to grow and you will be old.
10. Don’t try to control what happens, but keep control of your attitude
The only thing you have control over is how you react to the things that are going wrong.
You don’t have control over what goes wrong, what other people do or decide. You only have control over your actions, choices and reactions.
You can’t change the things that have happened, the emotions that You’ve felt, the situations at hand but what You can change is your reaction to it all. You can decide to stay positive even though You feel like everything is crushing you. You can decide to do everything in power to help you get out of the situation You’re in. You can decide that instead of feeling sorry for yourself You are going to do something about it.
You don’t have control over what happens to you in life but you do have control over how you look at things and how you respond to what happens.