Johnny C. Taylor Jr.
| Special to USA TODAYJohnny C. Taylor Jr. tackles your human resources questions as part of a series for USA TODAY. Taylor is president and CEO of the Society for Human Resource Management, the world’s largest HR professional society and author of “Reset: A Leader’s Guide to Work in an Age of Upheaval.”The questions are submitted by readers, and Taylor’s answers below have been edited for length and clarity.Have a question? Do you have an HR or work-related question you’d like me to answer? Submit it here.Question: As an older worker in my industry, I tend to see greater focus on hiring younger, less experienced, less expensive talent. How can I market myself to better compete with younger workers? – JeanJohnny C. Taylor Jr.: For a seasoned worker, the job search may seem frustrating and overwhelming given the competition in the labor market. But, if you really look at it, ageism runs counter to employers’ efforts to retain good workers and build institutional knowledge.To break through the sea of preconceived notions surrounding older workers, you must first understand your full value. There are several approaches you can utilize to market your value and contrast your skill set against younger, less experienced workers.1. Educate yourself – many younger candidates have shiny new degrees which can look enticing to prospective employers. However, this doesn’t mean you should go back to school full time. Consider pursuing a certification relevant to your field. For many, there is a robust offering of courses conveniently accessible online. Demonstrating a continued commitment to learning tells employers you are open to growth and pairs well with your extensive experience to broaden your appeal.2. Showcase your proficiency with relevant technology. Employers are searching for candidates who can leverage cutting-edge technology to enhance performance. Highlight how you’ve embraced innovation in your career to achieve success. 3. Be flexible. The workplace is constantly evolving. Consequently, employers are seeking employees who collaborate with others, take on tasks outside of their job description and are flexible with work location. Articulate your flexibility on your résumé – including work outside your normal scope and team projects – and provide examples during the interview as well.4. Network with other professionals in your field. By sheer volume of experience, older workers have generated far more business contacts in their careers. Connect with those individuals who know you best to discover what available opportunities might be a good fit. Often, those are the people who are most willing to give you a professional endorsement and advocate for you. Networking can be a great opportunity to further expand your professional networks.5. Highlight your soft skills. Understand, in your experience, you have had an opportunity to develop a range of coveted soft skills that workers early in their careers just do not have. Soft skills like critical thinking, organization, innovation, teamwork, leadership, and interpersonal communication are vital to business operations and transcend technical skills. These intangibles give you a distinct advantage over less experienced candidates.Ultimately, employers want a diverse workforce which includes having a multigenerational employee demographic. You can show a company how your knowledge, skills and experience are an advantage by adapting your approach to these strategies.4 reasons why millions of Americans are quitting every monthMillions of Americans have been quitting their jobs each month. Here are 4 reasons why.Staff video, USA TODAYCredit report: Why would a potential employer check your credit? Ask HRMental distress: How should I address an employee showing signs? Ask HRQ: I am considering recommending my boyfriend for a position at my job. Should I be concerned about creating an inappropriate work relationship? What if he is in a different department? – CarolTaylor: Close personal relationships can complicate workplace dynamics, so it’s sensible to be cautious in approaching such circumstances. Depending on your employer’s policies and the type of position you hold, having your boyfriend work at your company could complicate things. If you are to move forward, it is essential to avoid even the appearance of impropriety and be transparent about the relationship.Before recommending him, thoroughly review your employer’s policy on personal relationships, which may also be called a Nepotism policy or Employment of Relatives policy. These policies typically outline restrictions about hiring family members; however, some employers may include the employment of significant others. Often, restrictions are based on perceived or actual conflict of interest between family members and significant others working at the same company. Employers generally avoid combining close personal relationships with supervisory relationships or having workers involved in decisions that could benefit other individuals with personal ties.I’ll add this: People spend most of their waking hours at or involved in work, so understandably workplace romantic relationships and friendships are bound to occur. Whether they start at work or in your case, crossover after the fact, it is important to keep things above board and institute guard rails to protect the relationship and the workplace. Workplace relationships tend to become problematic when people either try to conceal or overtly flaunt them. So, be honest about the relationship and mindful of workplace dynamics to find a safe middle ground.Regardless of the company policy, it is in your best interest to be upfront about your relationship should you recommend your boyfriend for the position. If your boyfriend is hired, it is important that you both maintain a professional relationship at work and don’t allow your personal relationship to become a distraction to either of you or others in the workplace. Best wishes to you both!
Johnny C. Taylor Jr.