How to Get Hired If You are Older? …


Q: I’m an older worker and I find myself looking for a new job and wonder: How to Get Hired If You are Older?

-signed, I’ve Got Experience!

There’s no getting around it: this is a tough job market. The candidate pool of talent has expanded exponentially and that is leaving many wondering how they can compete. I had a similar question from an audience member at one of the seminars that I teach. This individual’s concern was ‘how to I compete and get noticed when I seem to be competing with 20-somethings?’ Well, in defense of 20-somethings, I think there’s a time, place and a position for each person’s experience –and that thought really leads to us to the answer.

It’s normal to be looking over our shoulders as we move through our careers, especially as we see hungry up-and-comers beginning to compete for the positions that we may be after. Of course, it’s competition that generally makes everything better, less expensive, and in many cases it can increase service levels as businesses compete for our purchases.

But in employment, competition can make us nervous and lead us to focus on the wrong items, such as age. I’m not so naive to think that agism doesn’t go on in hiring practices, though it should not. But any company worth working for will be much more focused on what each individual can bring to the company, should they be hired.

My recommendation is to put this concern up on the shelf and out of your way. It distracts us from truly going after, and attaining, our real goal. Choose instead to have confidence in the unique accomplishments that you can offer with your experience, and be well prepared to let them know why you are the very best choice for the role.

It can be challenging to put such a concern aside and focus instead on our value, so here’s a simple exercise that can help you get ready to ‘sell’ yourself and your capabilities during your next interview.



Think of the position that you are pursuing, and what the role’s contribution to the company can be –when it’s performed at its best. Now imagine the 3 ‘best’ candidates that you can think of for that role. Those individuals are the people you are competing against to get this career opportunity. Those are the individuals that you need to be ‘more valuable’ than in order to be chosen for the opportunity.

Now, write down all of the reasons why the manager should hire you over those other 3 candidates that they are going to consider. Be very specific and site examples of what you have been able to accomplish for your prior employers.


This simple exercise may have a number of results. You may decide that you are going after a position that you cannot compete for effectively –and that may be a positive outcome in helping you refocus on positions where you can truly succeed.

This exercise can also help you understand in clear terms why you are the very best individual for the role, and how to persuade the manager to come to the same conclusion after you present your points, accomplishments and how you will create an impact for the company –once you are in that role.

Our ego and confidence may take hits from a number of directions when we find ourselves looking for our next career step. Be sure that we are not the ones holding ourselves back and be ready to trumpet your value and contributions. Then your confidence and abilities will not likely go unnoticed.

John Crant

PS: To ‘win’ the roles that you are after, be sure you know all the secrets of how to get noticed. That includes having a resume that properly sells your abilities, being truly prepared for the interview process, and understanding how to avoid the many traps along the way –including those in the HR department.

Copyright © 2009 by John Crant

Check out my book for much more:


Changing the Rules: How to Be Your Own Recruiter &

Ride the Economic Crisis to Your Next Career Challenge.

© John Crant

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As seen and quoted in The Wall Street Journal, on, on CareerBuilder’s, on The Ladders, in The New York Post, The Huffington Post, in Essence magazine, in CRAIN’S New York Business, on, in amNY, and on CNN, BBC, FOX News, Arise TV – John shares the answers and the concrete steps for success in Job Search.

John is a Featured Speaker at The New York Public Library’s JOB SEARCH CENTRAL, as well as at the YMCA in New York City, and is a Social Media expert for Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses Program.

He speaks at Corporate Events, works with Workforce Development organizations, and teaches both students and alumni with this Self-Recruiter® Series for Colleges and Universities.

My Book:
Changing the Rules: How to Be Your Own Recruiter &
Ride the Economic Crisis to Your Next Career Challenge.
© 2009 by John Crant

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