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Interview Tips: How Can Age Be An Interview Advantage

Many people think once they've turned 50, they are going to encounter age discrimination in the search for a new job. Here's an interview tip for you though. While some companies do shy away from older hires, it is often expected that a good executive will have years of experience, so an older candidate should not be a surprise.

Part of the way to get past the 'age barrier' is to make the focus less on your age and more on your abilities and experience for the job at hand.

Here are some of the things an older candidate brings to an executive job:

Wisdom – If you have been in the field 20-25 years, you know more than most other people do about the field. You have seen companies come and go, and have made plenty of mistakes and know how not to make them again with a new company. This puts you in a great position for when it comes to answering interview questions.

Contacts – The longer you've been around the more people you likely know. No young executive will have a Rolodex that rivals yours. Nor will they know where people have come from and how they got to where they are like you will.

Authority – When a young executive joins a company, they have to prove themselves, but as an older executive, who knows the ropes and has respect in their field, you joining the company brings an immediate level of credibility and authority.

These are traits that you should be able to point out in your resume cover letter when you are hunting that new job.

Sometimes, it will still happen that you are judged by your age as a risky hire. You can't control perceptions of employers, just consider it their loss and move on. For each employer who has age issues, there are plenty that don't.

To get to the initial interview stage, you may want to avoid mentioning your age. You don’t have to say what year you got your degree, and you don't have to detail every year of your working life.

Once you get to the interview, the cards have been dealt. You obviously are your age, and they are going to know it. This is where your years of experience really pay off. During the interview you should be able to more eloquently discuss your history, skills, and experience in the field when answering questions. With age you have gained a lot of knowledge and accomplishments, let them work for you.

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