Age is a Three Letter Dirty Word

Written by Julie Holmwood

It seems that although we all have one, age is the dirtiest word out when it comes to career success in general and job-hunting specifically. Why is that? Can it really be so?

In my recruitment life I placed people as young as 60. My Dad just started a new role and he is 68; he got that via an agency! Not only is he thriving, his short-term project has extended from two weeks of holiday cover to four months of full-time work and counting.

I wonder how much of age related recruitment challenges are real and how much are our beliefs at work. If deep down you believe applying for a role is pointless do you put your heart and soul into the application? Do you take the time to target your CV? Do you really highlight why you are the great option?

The truth of the matter is that a role that requires a senior level of skill and in-depth experience doesn’t come about after three years in the workplace. To have thirty years of valuable skills and experience you are going to add thirty years to your age … well, unless you have mastered the secret of eternal youth like me, that is ;-)

Some very valid things you can do to keep yourself in the game, irrespective of your age, are to keep up with current trends. Just as you would expect a person to keep up their industry knowledge and experience so that they are up-to-date with techniques, rules, regulations and working methods, it is also wise to keep up to date with modern methods of communication

Love them, or hate them, social networking tools are here to stay for the foreseeable future and they are being used as part of the working world. Companies have seen the value and have been using LinkedIn as part of their recruitment practice for a few years now and I joined Facebook on the request of a client who wanted me to better assess candidates characters.

If you don’t have profiles on any of the sites at all, then now is a good time to address that. You might not want to spend your entire waking life talking to your friends via instant messenger but you do want to be found by people looking for someone with your skills and experience. I’m not talking purely and solely about being found for a new job; speaking requests, writing requests, joint ventures and sales quotes are just a few of the things that come to me via social networking.

When you are due an upgrade you might also want to get a phone that allows you to check your email. With the adoption of these technologies people are getting ever more impatient. I am not an advocate of being permanently attached to technology. Anyone that knows me knows that couldn’t be further from how I live my life. But being able to check-in, from wherever you are, quickly and easily and respond on the hop if necessary, is a sign that you are up with the times.

I have spoken to clients that only check their emails once a week. None of them are under thirty. In fact my younger clients tend to respond very quickly, sometimes within minutes.

Maybe when you consider your age was against you in XYZ situation you should run a checklist and see if you behaved in the way that the keen, enthusiastic, passionate about everything person would. Check and see if you were working within the currently expected norms or if you missed the boat because you quite literally missed the boat and the ship had sailed before you were able to respond

Age is a given. Taking yourself out of the game is optional!

I am very interested to hear your thoughts and to know about your age related experiences in a world where a three letter word is the dirtiest there is


If you understand the power of the word of mouse but are unsure how to harness it and get all manner of opportunities heading your way as a result, then you are in the right place. Email me now and I will work with you on a strategy … we are going to make it easy, fun and best of all, we are going to make it work for you!

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