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Five Tips to Stay Competitive in a Young Market

I hate the term “seasoned worker.” It makes me feel old rather than experienced. But that’s what we call people 50 and older who have 20+ years’ experience in the working world. Seasoned workers don’t get as much respect as they used to, despite the fact that they comprise between 25-35 percent of our workforce.

Seasoned workers are beginning to feel the pinch of ageism as many businesses and companies look to a younger workforce, fearing that older workers cost too much, have outdated skills, and are less productive than younger workers.

The first thing to bear in mind is that this simply isn’t true. Research shows that older workers have a stronger work ethic, are more dependable and punctual, and are more organized than many of their younger colleagues. People over 50 bring more experience in dealing with workplace problems, handling difficult issues, and working with a variety of personality types.

Furthermore, certain industries actually place a higher value on seasoned workers, including education, health, nonprofits, and government agencies. These fields, while dedicated to equal opportunity for people of all ages, place a value on the life, work experience, and dedication that Boomers and seasoned employees bring to the job.

Nevertheless, the truth is that many hiring managers tend to favor younger workers over older workers, assuming they have better skill sets. But seasoned workers can be just as competitive and attractive as their younger counterparts.

Here are five tips to stay competitive in the marketplace:

  1. Make sure your skill set is contemporary.This is obvious but it needs to be said. If you want to be competitive in the marketplace, you must have the current technological skills and knowledge of the younger people entering the workforce. You have to keep up. Brush up on the latest programs, operating systems, applications, programs, social media sites, gadgets, etc. This is critical.
  1. Make sure your look is contemporary.You don’t want to look like a young hipster, but you do want to be stylish, contemporary, and modern. You want to look like you belong in the 21st century.
  1. Be positive and confident.Your attitude should be confident and positive. You have the experience to tackle any new challenge; act like it. You aren’t old, you aren’t “overqualified,” you are a seasoned asset. Sell yourself as such. 
  1. Live in the now.Don’t dwell on the past or talk about “how things used to be.” Younger workers are living in the now, and so should you. You need to be current not just on technology but on cultural and social issues, too. Be modern.
  1. Be flexible and adaptable.Many workplaces these days are open, decentralized, virtual, and highly collaborative. People may be more informal than you are used to. Being flexible and open to new ways of working is key.

Being seasoned is an incredible asset. Use it to your advantage. Good luck!

Find out more about generational impact in the workplace.

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