I Am Worldly and Wise: Being A Mature Person in the Workforce

Job searching for mature workers

By Giovanna Percontino, M.Ed.  Communication Career Coach, U Career Success.  

My U Career Success colleagues and I have been discussing the potential discrimination faced by older professionals in the job market, and as a proud member of Generation X, I’m here to offer some perspective to job seekers and employers of all ages.  

Let’s start with some stats: Generation Z (those workers aged 12 to 27) still makes up less of the work force than more mature workers. I know from my personal experience that mature workers have a tremendous amount to give, since I have reinvited myself time and time again, including joining U Career Success as a career coach at 54.   

A more mature worker brings to the table a toolkit of skills, tech skills (which plenty of people find hard to believe), critical thinking and skills that cannot be taught. Our stable attitudes and soft skills are what we can share. We can help our younger colleagues.  

Do mature workers worry about the gaps in their resumes? Of course! Me included. We dread the conversation as if it were an indictment of our competency. I like to start the answer with positivity. I do realize that age discrimination remains a significant issue. But it’s all about shifting the paradigm and the assumptions.   

If an interviewer seems to be leaning toward an inappropriate age question, an assertive answer to how you will contribute to this new company and how you can meet needs will lead the interviewer away from that line of questioning. Here are some of my top facts for interviewers that I weave into my accomplishments:  

Number 1: I have energy. My performance is far from slow. 

Number 2: I don’t have health issues. 

Number 3: I am flexible when understanding changing circumstances and new directions. 

Number 4: I know the industry trends, I read and study up. 

Number 5: I can relate to all aged colleagues. 

Number 6: Practice a stock firm response like: “I’ve worked in the industry for many years, and I am not slowing down anytime soon. My experience and passion for learning and growing would certainly make me an asset to your company.”  

Make sure you follow all the best job search practices: networking, a tight resume, a solid elevator pitch.  These things never change regardless of our age, and we at U Career Success can help you maximize all of these opportunities to show what you can do. Here are the facts: there is a talent shortage, and we mature workers have solid proven experiences and skills. People are living longer and healthier. Mature workers have proven that we enjoy working and feeling productive, and that’s super positive. So deep breaths, sage, wise worker! You have value and will be valued.  Keep your head up and keep feeding your brain, body and soul.