I’m getting tons of clients coming to me with this question.
First off, it’s unfair.
Now that that’s out of the way, how can you overcome the stigma?
The key is recognizing and remembering that your work experience can play a *supportive* role as well as a leadership role with organizations. The two need not be mutually exclusive.
If you’re over 50, you’ve probably had the experience of being labeled as overqualified. And in response to this unwanted job-search slur, you’ve probably done what any intelligent, ambitious individual would do: Dumb yourself down (on your résumé, at the very least).
A good move, but what’s this do to your career confidence?
If today’s market is telling you repeatedly via carefully worded form-letter rejection emails, “We don’t care about your lifetime achievements or your obsolete business management model”, it’s no wonder a breach in your armor develops.
As an “over 50” job candidate, you have a unique challenge to grapple with — and unfortunately, this wrestling match often occurs in a very public arena: The Interview.
The main event?: A paradoxical tug of war that stems out of your being told you’re overqualified but feeling dramatically underqualified.
You’re overqualified because of the simple length of your resume, the style of your suit, the color of your hair, and the lingo in your business repertoire — or so they tell you.
You’re underqualified because you may lack some understanding of today’s rapidly evolving technologies, flattened infrastructure, and business culture.
As you sit there in the interview staring back at your Gen X boss-to-be in his hybrid sneaker-sandals and ironic T-shirt, you’re torn between standing up and screaming “I could do your job in my sleep” and humbly whispering “I don’t know what you’re talking about.”
Coming to terms with this paradox (before you enter the interview) is an essential component to building back your career confidence.
The next step–and no small feat–is to figure out how your strengths (i.e. what you can teach) *as well as* your weaknesses (i.e. what you can learn) match up with your targeted companies. It’s important to know both of these aspects of your professional self prior to your job search, and it’s important to know how to present them to your next employer—on paper and in person.