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Job Seekers – Don’t Snicker at Betty White
You have to hand it to Betty White, that wonderfully lovely actress in the popular Snickers commercial that aired during the Super Bowl. She appears to be a very likable person who charms almost everyone she meets. Craig Ferguson of The Late Late Show says in his delightful 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 creates a real connection with her audience. How can Baby Boomers in a job search convince 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, okay, take a moment to laugh and stop hyperventilating there.) But let’s assume, for the sake of argument, that there is some level of Ageism! What do you do about it? How do you convince that 31-year-old hiring manager that you’re not “like, you know, totally old?”
One way to do it is to convey a sense of energy that will help you make that connection. Besides a few billion dollars, what does Warren Buffet have? He has energy and you would never think this guy is in his eighties.
Besides multi-million sold records, what does Mick Jagger have? 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 an astonishing sense of energy and connects with people from eight to eighty? Energy – so exhausting! All 60 years of him.
Here is the bottom line for you in your job search.
Ageism exists. It is very likely that your interviewer will be 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 kind. It doesn’t even have to be great physical energy. Leonard Cohen is currently touring to rave reviews. During his three-hour show, this 74-year-old Canadian doesn’t show a stormy physical energy, but he’s stimulating and he’s interesting and he does make a connection.
So how do you create that feeling of energy and vitality? 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 feeling of energy.
1) Understand the importance of body language. You don’t have to dance in the interview room like Michael Flatley on steroids, but enter the room in a positive way and you can do that even if you walk in with a broken leg.
2) Firm handshake. I don’t care if you think you’re a demo lady, generate that firm handshake.
3) Use positive (energetic?) words and phrases. eg I LOVE your products or sales points. Your customer service is REALLY IMPRESSIVE. That is an AWESOME commercial you are putting out. Have you ever thought seriously about the vocabulary you use?
4) Think of Betty White when you walk into the interview and don’t sob. In fact, if you can watch the Snickers commercial right before you go in, it might just help you visualize that positive entrance.
Rock N Roll.
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