If you’re a business professional over the age of fifty, you know all too well that age can prove to be a detriment to overcome in your executive job hunting efforts. However, older business professionals can improve their success rate by focusing on the value of their experience. Here are strategies you can take to make your age an asset in your executive search.
Network across all platforms
Harness the power of your entire network. Mature business professionals have the advantage of a more developed professional network- both online and offline. Use this advantage to discover opportunities before others and to build in-roads into organizations that you are interested in becoming a part of.
Think about your connections and which ones can potentially refer you for an open executive position. If your application is marked as a referral, especially by an individual who is in high standing within the company, it instantly improves your chances of securing an in-person interview.
Keep up with the latest trends in your industry. One of the fears that many hiring managers have about hiring older executives is that they are set in their ways and ill-prepared for leadership given the advancements encountered in modern business. By staying knowledgeable about the latest trends and insights, you can demonstrate that the industry hasn’t passed you by and that you can still contribute to the organization in a meaningful way.
Follow professional blogs, join relevant LinkedIn groups, and regularly participate in industry discourses. The more people you meet and reach out to, the more you will learn and the more likely you are to find job opportunities.
Upgrade your skills
Depending on your field, you may need to advance your skills to be a competitive executive candidate. This is especially true with advancements in technology. Find out what attributes potential employers value, and find resources to help you become proficient in these. This may mean taking a class or a refresher course in your community or online.
Find employers who will value your know-how
There are still many employers that value and seek out older business professionals. Far from being a blemish, your age may actually put your resume on the top of the pile. Financial services firms, for instance, have a primarily older client base. To best reflect their clientele, they often prefer older employees.
Other organisations, constrained by the economic circumstances, may not have the time or resources available to extensively groom new executive hires. They want to bring someone in who can sit down and produce on their first day. This is a growing trend across multiple industries. Target these types of businesses when applying for executive roles.
Focus on business results
When developing your proposal pitches, remember this: companies today are looking for business results beyond anything else. Talk the language that an employer understands and appreciates, Return-on-Investment (ROI). Instead of citing your decades of experience, identify the benefits you have provided to past employers. Whenever possible, identify these benefits in monetary terms.
Focus on relevant, recent experience
When identifying professional experiences in your resume, there is no need to list every position you have held since you entered the business world. That will put the spotlight on your age. Rather, bring the focus on your talents.
Do this by focusing on the experiences that shows you have the skills needed for the role you are pursuing. If you can’t make such a connection in the description of a past position you have held, consider downplaying this role or removing it entirely from your resume.
If you haven’t recently participated in an executive interview, brush up on your skills. Do a practice round with a trusted friend or colleague. Focus on the skill set that you can bring to the company. Also, have a few questions of your own ready. You may ask, for instance, about the company’s plans for the future and the key performance indicators that you would be expected to achieve.
Try to stay away from personal topics when interviewing. A friendly interviewer and your own nervousness may lead you to let your guard down and reveal personal details that may work against you, such as about health issues. It’s often in these moments that employers make a decision on your fit for the organization. So be sure to show off your best self.
If you’re a well-seasoned executive in your fifties or beyond, all is not lost in your executive job hunting prospects. While there will be age discrimination with some naïve or arrogant employers, you can still succeed. Focus on the business’s needs and draw from successes in your past. Remember, the executive job search process is about emphasising your strengths rather than magnifying your shortcomings. If you do so, you can find a great executive position regardless of your age.
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