You got to hand it to Betty White, that wonderfully endearing actress in the popular Snickers commercial which aired during the Super Bowl.
She appears to be a thoroughly likeable person who charms virtually everyone she meets. The Late Late Show's Craig Ferguson says in his enjoyable book American on Purpose that she is his favorite guest. So here we have an eighty-eight year old actress taking the country by storm.
So what does this mean for you in your job search?
Betty White is successful because - despite her age - she conveys a sense of energy and makes a genuine connection with her audience. How can Baby Boomers in job search convince hiring managers that they are "right" for the job and not too old?
Of course, you and I know that "Ageism" is a myth and does not exist. (OK, OK, take some time to laugh and stop hyper-ventilating there.) But let's, for the sake of argument, assume there is a level of Ageism out there!
What do you do about it? How can you convince that 31 year-old hiring manager, that you are not "like, you know, totally old?"
One way to do it is to convey a sense of energy which will help you make that connection.
Apart from quite a few billion dollars, what has Warren Buffet got? He has energy and you never think that this guy is in his eightieth year.
Apart from multiple million record sold, what has Mick Jagger got? Sir Michael Philip "Mick" Jagger has energy and conveys it and he makes a connection with his audience. He is 66 years old.
And what about THE Boss - Bruce Springsteen, the best live performer since Lazarus, and a man who has mind-boggling sense of energy and connects with people from eight to eighty? Energy - exhaustingly so! All 60 years of him.
Here's the bottom line for you in your job search.
Ageism does exist. It is quite likely your interviewer is 10-15 years younger than you. But you can bridge that gap by conveying a sense of energy.
It doesn't have to be the manic Mick Jagger type of stuff. It doesn't even have to be great physical energy.
Leonard Cohen is touring to rave reviews at the moment. During his three-hour show, this 74 year old Canadian does not display boisterous physical energy, but he is stimulating and he is interesting and he does make a connection.
So how do you create that sense of energy and liveliness? I don't have one single answer for you, but some simple things can get you in the zone for that interview and convey that sense of energy.
1) Understand the importance of body language. You don't need to dance into the interview room like Michael Flatley on steroids, but do enter the room in a positive manner and you can do that even if you are walking in with a broken leg.
2) Firm handshake. I don't care if you think you are demure lady, generate that firm handshake.
3) Use positive (energetic?) words and phrases. e.g. I LOVE your products or outlets. Your customer service is REALLY IMPRESSIVE. That's a GREAT commercial you are airing. Have you ever seriously thought about the vocabulary you use?
4) Think of Betty White as you walk into the interview and don't snicker. In fact, if you can watch the Snickers commercial just before you go in, it might just help you visualize that positive entrance.
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This blog is dedicated to helping those who are in job search and job transition. (In general, I do NOT use the word “Unemployed” because I do not believe job seekers and those in job search / job transition should see themselves as unemployed. What I am about to say now is not simply semantics. If you are doing THE most important job you have ever done in your life – finding a well paying job – don’t tell me (and DON’T tell yourself) you are unemployed. “Unemployed” is a self-knocking word and words count in this process. Thus you are in unpaid employment, between successes, in job search – whatever, but get rid of that swear word beginning with “U.”
Blogger Conor Cunneen IrishmanSpeaks primarily earns a crust speaking to Corporations and Associations (Harley-Davidson, Incentive Marketing Association, Dairy Farmers of America etc.) but has a deep and abiding passion for those in job search and job transition.
He is Co-host JobTalk on Chicago local radio and board member Community Career Center, Naperville.