While people get knocked back because of their age, many older executives take such a negative approach to finding a job that they damage their own prospects.

That’s what Denis Baker the employment consultant and author of “Personal Job Hunting” told me when I interviewed him for a Sydney Morning Herald story on the problems facing older knowledge workers.

Baker says he has seen a number of 50-plus executives find employment in recent years.

Defensive interviews

“I’ve seen people who have gone to job interviews and started out on the defensive. They apologise for their age rather than talk about the positives they have to offer. And they do have a lot to offer. Older people don’t just have technical work skills; they’ve usually picked up a lot of life skills along the way that translate well to the workplace.”

Baker says older job seeker should not list work experience but prepare personal skill inventories. They should also list skills acquired outside the workforce. “Employers are often looking for initiative, so think of ways you can show this quality.”

One other important factor is to show an ability to listen and learn. Baker says younger managers are wary of hiring older executives who constantly tell them how to do things, although if the candidate shows willing and can diplomatically pass on expertise, that’s a big plus.

Remember:

  1. Don’t apologise about being old.
  2. Prepare a list of all the technical work skills you’ve accumulated over the years.
  3. Create a similar inventory of your life skills showing what else you can bring to the workplace.
  4. Show that while you may be an old dog, you can still learn new tricks.

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