Some Over-50 Reality

In any job search campaign, you need a strategy. A great input to strategy development, is the wisdom of others. And a great way to seek and obtain such wisdom is through networking.

This morning, at a local coffee shop, I met with a networking contact, a guy I had worked with years ago. He is a few years my senior and is also looking for work.

After catching up on the years that have flown by since we last worked together, we got down to business . . . and some harsh realities.

He said:

"Terry, It's a buyer's market. If they want 38 things, and you have 36 of them, they can afford to keep looking until they find someone with all 38.

"There are three, no four things that you will find working against you. They are:

"1. Your age. You are Fifty now and, with your bald head, you look older than your age.

"2. Your gender. You are a male in a female dominated field. And, combined with the first point, you are not some "hot" young guy that a female VP is going to look at and think "I want him on my team."

"3. Your pigmentation. You are a White Guy so that won't help you at all.

"4. Your resume. In the past ten years, you have worked for four different companies. On average, that's a bit over 2 years per employer. If the hiring manager is looking for evidence of stability, you are in trouble."

He then laid out the ingredients in the job search campaign strategy including:
- having a goal that identifies what you are looking for
- knowing what organizational level you are after
- knowing what salary range you seek
- knowing where geographically you want to work and if you are willing to relocate

With all of that decided, he said, "Go for it."

He asked me how much longer I plan to work and said, "You will only want to work at one, maybe two, more jobs before you retire. So be careful when job offers start to come your way. You don't want to accept a job with a company that is going to go belly up in two years."

Comments said…

I like your blog. You are both poetic and practical.

Re what your friend told you, he is right, but I wish to add some more.

He said:

"4. Your resume. In the past ten years, you have worked for four different companies. On average, that's a bit over 2 years per employer. If the hiring manager is looking for evidence of stability, you are in trouble."

I saw that this applies also to situations when you move "within" a company. For my own learning purposes, I made it my business to move from department to department, and from division to division, when I worked with Hilton International. I even moved countries to gain additional knowledge, experience and exposure.

However, when I came to Canada and was applying for jobs, the attitude of interviewers was negative - as if I had changed companies. They couldn't for the life of them imagine why someone would want to move "within" a company for learning purposes, even though it all led to my becoming a very successful Training and Development Manager for the same company.

How can you make the others "see" beyond the narrow framework they caged their mind in?

Claire Belilos
Terrence said…
Hey Claire

Welcome to my blog. Glad you found it.

Thanks for the "poetic and practical" comment. That warms my heart!

With regard to my friend's comment on the issue of job stability, I agree with you and tend to think that it's up to me to portray and sell myself the best I can.

Anonymous said…

I came here, though quite busy, because I gained a great deal of respect for you through the mail lists we both belong to. I will visit often. You always have something of value to say.

With regard to the same subject we were discussing, interviewers, like managers, want to select someone whom they consider as non-threatening (their own job). Unless they are free of such complexes, they do not want a "richer" experience than their own. They do not want someone very bright. One has to come across as intelligent and capable, but not too much.

They also seek someone similar to a "safe" person they had in the past. Either someone who will support them in everything or someone they can bully around. It is up to the personality of the interviewer.

Sorry I sound so negative, but I am not speaking only of what I came across, but the experience of many extraordinary people I came to know throughout life.

One very qualified Swiss lady who had immigrated to North America, previously a top executive, finally gave up after 8 months and returned to Switzerland. In less than one week she became the general manager of a very good company.

I advised a French couple I know when they just immigrated. I told them to play down their past experience. I re-wrote their resumes and told them how their interviewers "think", and told them how to conduct the conversation.

They followed my advice and immediately got good positions.

One does have to be able to have insight on what the interviewer wants. For example, when I worked with a General Manager over his resume/profile, I discovered that his greatest qualification was his ability to create new lines of business. He had done this wherever he was. So we stressed this fact right at the beginning of his profile and put Qualification right there on top, and re-wrote his work experience in other wording to stress that fact, giving more details.

For a general manager position, this is exactly what a company wants.

He quickly got an excellent job after he returned to Canada, and not through an agency. The agency he dealt with and whom I approached for him definitely had a bias against him (he comes from another geographic location so they did not want to recommend him for jobs in North America but wanted to send him back to his area).

By the way, though a bit late, I too will soon start my own blog. The link will be from my home page at
Anonymous said…

Why don't you put your web site link at the top of each page? I had to look to find it
Max Leibman said…
Sounds like solid advice--I'd stick with that one.

I find it interesting that the white male has started to work against you.

Still, on the stability point: It's true that a company looking for a long-term bet will find that a problem, but fewer and fewer companies are holding job-hopping against candidates (of course, it also depends what level of job you're looking at). Many jobs across not just companies but whole fields is becoming the norm.
Terrence said…
Hey Max

Welcome to my blog. Glad you found me!

Thanks too for adding me to the links list on your blog. I will stop by.


regina said…
I'd say no wonder your friend doesn't have a job! Tell him to get a makeover and be more optimistic. That might help him!!
Terrence said…
Hey Regina

Good to see you stopping by my blog again. I wondered if this entry would catch your eye...

I agree that optimism is a powerful ally in a job search campaign.

Anonymous said…
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