I was recently asked for my input for this article by My Deal about how to ace a job interview. Here are some additional notes that I’d love to share with you about this important process. If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to add them below. I’d love to hear your thoughts on my advice, and your own tips for interviews. What has been your experience with interviews and preparing for them? Share your story and empower other like-minded women around you!
3 tips for mid-life career change + how to ace that job interview
Mid-life jobseekers face even greater challenges than their younger counterparts when preparing for interviews. But with the right preparation, age doesn’t have to be a barrier of career success. Surviving and passing the job interview is an important part of any role/career change.
There is no doubt that older workers have to overcome a number of age-related stereotypes to win the job. These may include:
- Unable/unmotivated to keep up with changes in technology
- More resistant to change
- Less willing to continue skill development
It’s important to address the questions asked during the interview. It is also important to ensure that your answers highlight how you keep pace with technology changes, embrace and champion change within the workplace, and how you are continuing to grow your skills.
My 3 tips for mid-life career change interview success:
1: Recognise what skills and experience you have to offer
Your depth of life and professional experience gives you a great advantage. It’s easy to take your hard-earned skills and qualities for granted. You need to focus and tell yourself why YOU are the best person for the job.
- Believe in your abilities to do the job. If you don’t believe in yourself and your ability to successfully do the job, then it is unlikely that the interviewers will. Having a positive attitude and practicing self belief is critical to your own success.
- Having an attitude that you are not worthy of the role, will reflect in your body language, responses and engagement during the interview. Stand in front of mirror regularly and say your skills out loud. Tell yourself why you are perfect for the role. Get used to hearing these facts out loud and really believe in them. If the first time you’re hearing how great you are is during the interview, you may not sound as confident. Come up with a few affirmations and say these out loud to yourself regularly. For example: I am highly qualified for this role. I am a confident, independent woman who deserves great things. I believe in myself and can achieve anything that I set out to do.
- Think about your achievements. List all your major achievements in the workplace (and outside if relevant). For each achievement, identify:
- What was achieved.
- How you contributed to the achievement.
- What you learned from the experience.
- How this achievement has contributed to who you are today.
- Go in search of all public evidence of your success. Pull out your past references, news clippings, awards – anything that reminds you that you do have recognisable skills and experience to offer.
- Ask the people who know you. The older we get, the more likely we are to focus less on our traits that others value. Send out an email, put a call-out on social media, phone – whatever. You may be both surprised and reassured at the common strengths others appreciate in you.
2. Acknowledge what transferrable skills you have
These days most employers are interested in the full range of skills you can bring to their workplace. Brainstorm all the different ways you have demonstrated:
- Communication skills.
- Embracing change and being a change leader.
- How you have kept pace with technology.
- How you have mentored people within a team.
- ‘Getting things done’ skills.
- Leadership skills.
- Interpersonal, ‘getting on with others’ skills.
You have more skills than you might think. Sit down, brainstorm and match these ‘soft’ skills against the criteria. Spending time understanding your transferrable skills will increase your self confidence and your ability to be successful at the interview.
3. Go into your interview fully prepared
The more prepared you feel, the easier it will be to respond confidently. Here are a few suggestions to help you feel prepared:
- Find out as much as you can about the job, the organisation and who will be conducting the interview. Read through their website, including any media releases or annual reports. Check out their social media presence on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn. Get a feel for the workplace culture and the role itself.
- Do you know anybody who has experience with the organisation? Ask your own network, particularly any professional friends or associates.
- Use all the information you’ve gathered to brainstorm possible interview questions – and how you’d respond to them. You might like to use the following scaffold to help you plan and role-play interview questions with a friend: “I demonstrated _________ (skill), when I _________ (what you did: work or personal) and this resulted in _________ (the value of your achievement).”
- If you can afford it, invest in professional interview coaching. This service is a great way to refine your interview technique and to feel confident for an upcoming interview, and any interview-type situations in the future.
Ultimately, the most important thing you can do to boost your confidence in a job interview is to believe in yourself.
We all have valuable skills and life experience to offer. Prepare by doing some strategic background research, audit your skills and practice your interview responses. Take this approach and you’ll handle any job interview with confidence! Remember: you are fabulous, you are perfect for the role, you are highly skilled and experienced.
Article written by Elise Stevens, founder of Age Defying Careers. Elise is a mentor, speaker, writer and podcaster who is passionate about empowering women in the workplace, and helping them to see how fabulous they truly are for success throughout their personal and professional life endeavours.
Join Elise for an informal afternoon of much needed self care with like-minded women in the upcoming Brisbane workshop. In this fun, interactive session, we will celebrate your achievements and identify what makes you fabulous. It’s time to believe in yourself and see amazing change! Learn more + grab your ticket here.