While there are undoubtedly companies that want to hire executives who will remain with them for 20 years and may not be interested in someone who has rounded the proverbial “third base” of their careers, other companies value the wisdom and experience of a seasoned executive. Giant law firm Kirkland & Ellis just completed a search for an executive director by hiring a 60-something candidate. So how does an “older” executive level the playing field? Much of it is about having the right attitude and being current.
So what does “being current” mean?
Embrace social media. While younger executives may not be able to match your experience, they instinctively understand technology and the role social media plays in today’s business world. Executives who pretend that Facebook and Twitter have nothing to do with them do so at their own peril. I strongly urge every executive to have a LinkedIn profile with a professional headshot that clearly communicates, “I get LinkedIn” and the value of networking. While Facebook participation is more optional, I recommend that executives maintain a Facebook page, whether they use it or not. It is simply another way of staying current. Even if you don’t understand social media, don’t denigrate it at every opportunity. The people who say, “I’m not really good at this technology thing,” place themselves firmly in the “old fogies” category.