5 Quick Tips for Staying Relevant in the Workplace
Why might an employer discount the candidate that has “retired”?
Well, no one wants to discuss age discrimination for fear of being sued. HR Managers might run from the room if asked. This is what they may be thinking… (if you are easily offended, stop reading now)
Curiosity ranked high on the list of traits to look for in new hires. “Look for someone who is open and excited to learn and grow, as opposed to someone who comes in thinking they already know everything.” Inc. Magazine
- Are you a Digital Dinosaur?
- Brush up on your digital skills. Before applying to a position, review all their social channels for the level of engagement and assess the company culture. Clearly communicate on your resume and in practice that you are up to date with digital trends. If your past career did not require this, simply jump on YouTube or a Webinar and see what all the buzz is about. Be sure to include Social Media in addition to Facebook, because equating Social Media to “I’m on FB” is like having an AOL email address. Check out Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat, Pinterest, LinkedIn and Reddit.
- Do you have enough drive?
- Just the word “retired” makes you think of someone in the twilight years, slowing down to enjoy the sunset years. Even if your chronological age is below 65, steer clear of using “retired”. Instead, illustrate the energy, drive and stamina you have in other ways. Describe the reason you left your prior role as “completing my goals” and “ready for a new challenge” or “curious to master the next opportunity”. Words are powerful, be sure the potential employer knows your energy level and why you want to keep working.
- Will you be “hungry” and willing to do what others won’t do?
- Potential employers look for great candidates that buy into the culture, vision and mission of the company. This often translates to being willing to jump in on new projects and seizing the opportunity to shine. “Retirees” could be perceived as complacent, “been there, done that” and just collecting a paycheck with nothing to prove.
- Are you responsive to communication?
- Hiring managers are in the driver’s seat in directing communication. Be sure to be available via phone, text, email, LinkedIn, FB, Twitter, Instagram and any other method you see the company using to communicate. I have actually had many friends/ colleagues share frustration with me that they missed contact from a potential employer, “I don’t text or I only check email every few days,” they said to me. It is the 24/7 world of digital regardless of what position you are applying for, when job seeking, be sure to be on your toes and respond quickly. They will translate that to how you will respond on the job.
- Do you remind them of their mom or dad?
- You want to make an impression more like a cool, articulate, fun, accomplished, kick butt aunt or uncle. Even those who adore their parents (me included) don’t necessarily want to hire someone that will admonish them, judge them or watch over them in an authoritative manner. Be authentic, but years of experience and accomplishments can be balanced with a fresh eagerness to take on a new role and learn.
In conclusion, I believe that some of the most incredible hires are indeed people “taking on a new challenge” (but officially retired from one or two jobs already). These are some of the key traits Hiring Managers look for that experienced workers dominate!
- Experience under pressure– many years of identifying, communicating, diffusing and handling tough issues, tasks and problems
- Interpersonal Communications– the power of persuasion without hiding behind technology
- Work Ethic- the proven ability to show up, work through it and grow with the company!
If you are having difficulty getting interviews because you are “overqualified”
- Reach out to your colleagues and ask them for personal introductions
- Contact a recruiter that can help market you
- Don’t be afraid to write a personal note to the hiring manager citing why you would like an opportunity to interview.
Wishing you the best. Light Your Fire!