The Kids Are Alright: Getting Hired Without Experience (P.L.O.S.)

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  • Pay
  • Less threatening
  • Optimistic
  • Stick around

It’s especially challenging when you’re looking for work and you don’t have all the experience that companies are looking for. But often younger workers do have advantages in the job market. Which reminds me of a recent flight that I booked on an online travel service. Totally out of the blue I got a check in the mail because the price of the airplane ticket had decreased since I’d purchased it. I was surprised and pleased.

What does this have to do with being a younger worker? Everything. Younger workers are often cheaper workers. Just like that check in the mail that I received, you potentially can give substantial cost savings to any company that hires you. Sure you’ll hear from some employers that you don’t have enough experience, but for every one of those, there will be many others that will want to hire you because you’re less expensive. I’ve listed below four key advantages that you have and that you need to play up in your job search. I’ve tied them to the text message shorthand, PLOS, or Parents Looking Over Shoulder. For more, check out “My Reality Check Bounced” by Jason Ryan Dorsey (Broadway, 2007).

Pay. Most companies are looking to cut costs everywhere. That gives you a big advantage when competing with an older worker. I get lots of mail from older workers who say they can’t compete with younger workers when it comes to salary, you’ve got to learn how to play to your strength here. At the same time, you don’t want to be locked into low pay for the rest of your career. The key is to get offered the job and then to ask for performance targets that will allow you to qualify for a raise.  

Less threatening. I’ve heard from many experienced workers who’ve scaled back their resumes, reduced job titles and eliminated honors to make them more attractive to potential employers. Most people think that companies hire younger workers simply to reduce costs. Not true. A lot of companies think that an older worker can be more threatening to the existing management team. Make yourself less of a threat by presenting yourself as a team player that’s always ready to learn.  

Optimistic. Again, this will be hard for a lot of boomers to hear, but a lot of older workers can come across as cynical and defeated during the job interview process. That’s why it’s so important for you to be optimistic and energetic during your networking and interviews. Bring a lot of energy and enthusiasm to each interview and you’ll be rewarded for it.

Stick Around. Finally, many companies are concerned about hiring older workers because they believe they’ll jump ship as soon as a better job comes along. Show them that you’re ready to make a real commitment.

Don’t focus on your weaknesses, emphasize your strengths and you’ll save your new company a bunch of money.

Wise Words:

“The old believe everything, the middle-aged suspect everything and the young know everything.” Oscar Wilde

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