Over 55? How to stay in demand

Jun 11, 2012 | Careers

From embracing social media to updating a wardrobe, older workers need to stay current. An executive search expert explains how.

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.

Other tips
Increase your accessibility. Many people who did not grow up with mobile devices are not in the habit of being available 24/7.
Listen more. Have you ever noticed that as people get older, they listen less and talk more? Don’t let this be you. As you listen, see what you can learn from the younger generation. If you are too old to learn, you are too old — too old to work and too old to contribute.
And if you are looking to hire someone with more experience – or are one of those people with experience looking…consider looking at the ThirdQuarter program as an option for your search.

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