The business world is a largely young person’s arena. Although there’s plenty of room for experienced professionals near the very upper rungs of the corporate ladder, professionals in the middle can easily become left in “no man’s land.”
If you want to stay competitive in this younger job market, you have to take a disciplined approach. Here are a few simple tips and strategies that typically yield positive results.
1. Remain Relevant
As you age, it’s easy to become cemented in place. You become used to the way you’ve always done things and start to label new processes, systems, and ideologies as “bad” or “incorrect.”
In reality, you can’t afford to do that. The business world is changing whether you stay on board for the ride or not. It’s up to you to remain relevant.
Remaining relevant involves learning to use and discuss current technology. We’re not talking about using hip buzzwords and slang just for the sake of sounding cool.
We mean actually learning about the trends and immersing yourself in the evolution of your industry or niche. This is done by interacting with younger coworkers, networking, and subscribing to industry podcasts, YouTube channels, and blogs.
2. Brush Up Your Skills
In addition to remaining relevant, you’d be smart to brush up your skill set. As contrary as it may seem, you actually have less leeway as you age. When you’re younger, small mistakes are written off as learning experiences, and managers are more likely to give you the benefit of the doubt.
When you’re older, these mistakes start to look more like incompetence. Once you get the “past your prime” label, your days are numbered with your current employer (as well as potential future ones).
3. Pay Attention to Your Appearance
Physical appearances matter. Though employers are technically not allowed to discriminate based on the way a person looks, it happens all too often. In most cases, the process is largely subconscious and unintended.
If you look old, you’re going to face a disadvantage when compared with younger workers who are attractive and energetic. Thankfully, there are ways to fight back against the effects of aging.
Take hair loss, for example. There are a number of DIY hair growth solutions out there. From mask recipes and supplements to at-home laser therapy and medications, there’s something for everyone.
The same goes for skin. If wrinkles or skin blemishes are making you look older than you truly are, you may want to try some sort of natural skin product or new skin care routine to restore some of the vitality to your skin.
4. Leverage Experience
On the other hand, though your age may put a target on your back, there’s also something to be said for your experience. A 25-year-old hotshot might have plenty of potential, but you’ve already been there and done that.
The key is to leverage this experience well. Consider starting some sort of mentorship program in which you train other employees and coworkers on your own time.
This will cement your role as a valuable asset to the business. Your coworkers will appreciate your willingness to help them improve, and even more important, your employer will regard you as a team player who is far less disposable.
5. Prove Your Worth
This is going to be the case regardless of your age or skill level, but proving your worth is an especially vital strategy for aging employees. And when we say prove your worth, we mean you should prove it literally in dollars and cents.
At the end of the day, your employer cares about one thing: Are you making them money? If the answer is “yes,” then you should always have a job.
Take some time to analyze every single activity you do for the business with care. Then access revenue numbers and sales data to figure out how your activities influence and connect to the money coming into the company.
Should you ever need to justify your role, this kind of thorough analysis can come to the rescue.
Adding it All Up
We all have different life experiences. But one thing is for sure: The days of older professionals running the business world are behind us. It’s now more of a young person’s game, where energy, risk-taking, and fresh creativity rule.
This means if you want to stand out, you have to be proactive. Take the process seriously and don’t miss any opportunities to elevate your career as you grow older.