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Top 10 Job Search Strategies for Executives Over 40

  1. Dismiss Age Discrimination Thoughts - Flip that mental age discrimination switch to the “off” position. Think age-neutral. Focus on “connecting” to the interviewer before any real questioning starts. Banish any thoughts that reflect “reverse age discrimination” where you believe a young person can’t possibly understand you – get them to understand your enthusiasm, skills, interests and ability to contribute.
  2. Emphasize Capabilities, Not Experience - We have learned to equate experience to depth and strength of capabilities – don’t do it. It generally serves to de-emphasize duration of experience. Focus on the capabilities acquired during your executive experience.
  3. Be Technically Savvy - Computer, Cell Phone, iPhone - Employers expect to be able to communicate with you by email, or cell phone. Having these devices and knowing how to operate them efficiently and effectively is a must today.  Open a gmail account if you don’t have one and don’t use an AOL account for job search – an AOL user is perceived as an older, less up-to-date individual.
  4. Acquire Basic Computer Skills - With few exceptions, many jobs require a fundamental working knowledge of computer skills. Basics include: Microsoft Office applications beginning with Word (word processing), then Outlook (basis for most corporate email systems), then Excel (spreadsheets), and finally PowerPoint (for presentations). In the past, you may have had assistants that had these skills working for you. But today, you need to be able to navigate the computer and programs yourself. Learn how to conduct internet research on Google and similar sites.
  5. Avoid “Age” References – Don’t put graduation dates on your resume. Present only the most recent 15 years of employment and summarize prior work in a single paragraph without dates or durations.
  6. Craft Your Resume and Applications – Carefully write your resume or employment applications to focus on skills and capabilities, not necessarily length of service. Describe what you can do, what you have learned, and what you have accomplished. Consider using a certified resume writer to assist you with a professional written resume that is created to showcase your talents and downplay the prejudicial information that can lead to age discrimination.
  7. Practice Interviewing - It may have been some time since you interviewed and you may be facing a recruiter half your age. Practice answering and asking questions simply and directly. Be ready for awkward questions such as “How long do you plan to work?”, “Do you believe you are overqualified for this job?” Don’t get defensive. Give a direct and honest answer. Move the recruiter to discussing your qualifications and “fit” for the job.
  8. Fitness and Appearance – Stay fit for life, not just for an interview. Get plenty of rest and some exercise before interviews. You may have your “lucky interviewing outfit” but if it is outdated, go shopping for something contemporary and fresh. Be well groomed. Looking sharp and professional is still important.
  9. Seek Out Age Friendly Employers – Look for RetirementJobs.com’s Age Friendly Employer Certification™ seal on job postings. Check out AARP’s Best Employers for Workers 50+ and Fortune Magazine's "100 Best Employers." For instance, the site RetirementJobs.com lists more than 30,000 full-time and part-time jobs nationwide with "age-friendly employers." Other job sites that cater to older workers: Jobs 4.0, Retired Brains, Seniors4Hire and Workforce50.com.
  10. Use the Latest Internet Networking Tools and be up to date with technology in general – Show employers that you are “wired” into the internet. The best professional online profile tool right now is “Linkedin.com.” Sign up and even invite your best hiring manager prospects to join your network. Join groups and hang out where the hiring managers can find you. You should also search your own name in such search engines such as Google or Zoom Info. Make sure your search results are the best they can be from a hiring manager’s perspective.
Louise Garver
This article was written by Louise Garver,
Certified Job Search Strategist and Career Transition Coach with BlueSteps Executive Career Services (BECS). Louise has guided executives across industries and disciplines to land their ideal position in less time while maximizing their compensation. She would be happy to share this vital information with you! Energize your search and learn how to navigate easily the complex job market with her step-by-step online and offline job search system.

BlueSteps Executive Career Services (BECS)Connect with Louise and other coaches and resume writers at BlueSteps Executive Career Services (BECS) for your executive career management needs.

About BlueSteps
BlueSteps is the exclusive service of the AESC that puts senior executives on the radar screen of over 8,000 executive search professionals in more than 75 countries. Be visible, and be considered for up to 75,000 opportunities handled by AESC search firms every year. Find out more.

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About the author

Louise Garver's picture

Louise Garver, certified executive resume writer, branding and job search strategist/coach with BlueSteps Executive Career Services, has guided executives across industries and disciplines to land their ideal position in less time while maximizing their compensation. She would be happy to share this vital information with you! Energize your search and learn how to navigate easily the complex job market with her step-by-step job search system.

Join BlueSteps today to connect with Louise and the other executive career coaches and resume writers of BlueSteps Executive Career Services.

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