Embracing C-O-M-P-E-T-I-T-I-O-N by Qaddafi Sabree

Competition is always a concern if you’re an older professional searching for that next opportunity. With young people coming out of college every year, the outlook for senior professionals seems bleak sometimes.

However, mature professionals bring characteristics and traits that younger workers lack. An experienced professional with years of knowledge has accumulated qualities that will set them apart from younger candidates. 

The first is confidence. Age has its advantages. Years of working in any capacity will give you a leg up over any young person looking to start their career. In addition, those years should give you the confidence to express to others why you’re the best candidate. Employers like confident individuals, and with your accumulated knowledge and wisdom, confidence should be a given.

The second trait that mature workers should have is the ability to be organized. Being organized is a trait everyone appreciates at all levels of an agency. This trait isn’t unique to older workers, but it’s more noticeable if an older, experienced worker is unorganized. So, work on it, perfect it, and implement it into your routine.

Market yourself as a mentor. Mentoring is something that helps organizations to flourish. For example, when younger workers come in fresh out of college, it helps to have someone to guide them in the organization, whether it’s learning the organization’s culture or business processes. Mentors are a plus for any organization serious about cultivating talent.

Professionalism should be ingrained in all of us looking for a job. However, it can be lacking in some younger workers who are more used to the relaxed college atmosphere. Not to be confused with stuffiness, you can use professionalism to your advantage when interviewing through your choice of words, your style, and how you articulate your accomplishments.

It should go without saying that experience is on your side. Someone fresh out of college isn’t going to have the knowledge that you can provide the organization. Reminding a prospective employer of your professional experience will set you apart if it’s between you and a younger professional.

Young professionals need training. So it’s only logical that the experienced person teaches the less experienced. Even if you’re a new hire, your overall experience will put you at the top of the list to train others, which is one more thing to add to your arsenal of skills and abilities.

The word influencer has come to mean something different in social media, but your influence should be evident as a mature professional. If you conduct yourself as an experienced professional, your impact should carry across the organization, especially to those in your immediate department. Use your influence to your advantage in the interview and on the job.

The time that you’ve spent in the workforce is a plus. Time has allowed you to observe things around you and make solid decisions based on those observations. However, even if a young professional has the experience, professionalism, the ability to train, confidence, and influence, time is something that only a seasoned professional can claim.

Along with time comes insight. Whether making a decision based on experience or having the knowledge and understanding that comes with experience, insight is something that prospective employers cannot overlook. Once you’ve seen enough scenarios, you can be guided by intuition and have the insight to make wise decisions.

Along with insight comes the ability to be objective. After witnessing both sides of numerous conflicts and outcomes, impartiality is essential when dealing with multiple personality types. Objectivity isn’t a given, but mature professionals put their biases aside.

As the elder in the organization, you have to nurture those coming behind you. If you’re going to be a mentor and someone who exudes influence, the ability to help others is a must. Selling yourself as a nurturer can be extremely valuable, especially to an organization with a young demographic.

So when you think of competition, think of a confident, organized mentor who’s professional, experienced, can train and influence, and has amassed the time and insight to be objective and nurturing when dealing with other employees. As a mature, skilled worker, you bring all the traits employers value. So, promote these characteristics in your interview. Then, it will be hard for any employer to overlook you, and it will be difficult for other candidates to compete with you because you are the competition.


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