Some Career Advice to a Modern Elder.
I received the following email from an MEA alum the other day, and I asked him if I could share it with you.
“As a person of ‘significant’ experience, how do I write/position myself as someone who can make a pivot to an assignment in an organization that would fulfill a "meaning and purpose" objective of mine? I'm pretty sure that someone who views my credentials and reads the fact that I can use my considerable "commercial" experience in a mission-driven organization or NGO might simply interpret me as too old or too expensive.”
Here's an adapted version of how I responded.
"A few years ago, one of the world's best executive recruiters told me that the most significant challenge people over 50 face is not societal ageism but their own unconscious bias toward their age. She said, ‘If you show up with curiosity and passionate engagement for a job interview, people won't notice your wrinkles, they'll see and feel your energy, and people are naturally drawn to others with positive energy.’
There are programs like Encore Fellowships that are precisely focused on how to take seasoned commercial execs and place them in NGOs and mission-led organizations that could use your expertise.
Identify the causes or projects that are most meaningful for you and start to network in those worlds. Consider serving on a board for an organization in that area or becoming a donor to a cause to show just how committed you are.
And maybe you could consider writing about this topic (an occasional Linkedin post, etc.) that shows you're both passionate and well-versed in the subject matter. These posts can serve as proof that you're committed to this area and would be helpful in the interviewing process."
Finally, if I were to include an additional question during a job interview in my post-50 years, it would be: "What is the most significant challenge your organization is currently working to solve, and how can my experience be of assistance in addressing it?”
What advice would you give to this modern elder?