Over 40 And Unemployed? Why Are You Overcompensating?

I work with people who are 45+ and looking for work, and I've seen a pattern in the “strategies” of the older and unemployed. To put it simply, older job seekers have been beaten up, treated unfairly, and are given soooo much (bad) advice that it’s hard to know what's right, wrong, or even worth trying IF you can get an interview. I have a one simple question I ask ALL of the older and unemployed people I coach: "Does it help you get hired or does it help you get eliminated?" If you're over 40 and unemployed, start asking yourself this question about everything you do in your job search. And remember, if what you are doing isn’t working, change it! I want you to go to your next interview energized, confident, and prepared. I want you to get hired for a great job. So, I am going to give you the top three ways the older and unemployed overcompensate in interviews!


1. "I Have (Anything More Than 10 Years) Experience."

I once coached a gentleman who told me he had 22 years experience three times within the first five minutes of being in my office. I explained that NO jobs advertise “Over 20 Years of Experience” required, and every time he said he has “22 years of experience,” he was reminding a hiring manager that he was older and probably more experienced than the manager he would be working for. Not to mention, 99% of jobs are advertising 3-8 years of experience. So, 22 years of experience helps you get eliminated - not hired! We decided he would NEVER say those words again in an interview and would only focus on the 5-8 years of experience he had that matched the position he was applying for.

2. “I’ve Done It All.”

Nothing says, “Even though I’m new to your business, I’ll probably tell you how you can improve your systems and, oh yeah, I’ll be hard to train, too” more effectively than this statement. It’s like arriving at your interview in a yellow corvette with your top three buttons undone (we are talking about dudes here), a thick gold chain, and too much cologne. Remember, you are not there to be the most qualified candidate; you are there to be the perfect candidate. And, the perfect candidates has the right experience, appears to be moldable and trainable.

3. “I Just Need A Job Because I Have Bills To Pay.”

Unfortunately, your personal experience doesn’t count in any of these categories. I have coached and talked to many older and unemployed people who were in need of a job. They had really heartbreaking circumstances. Things like needing to buy medication for sick children or just needing to pay rent. The advice I gave them was DON’T play the pity card. Yes, it will generate some compassion from a hiring manager, but it WON’T get you hired. The truth is, hiring managers would love to help you if they could BUT they have to hire for experience, education, and fit, so focus on these and these only.

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