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    Posted January 4, 2011 by
    Chicago, Illinois
    This iReport is part of an assignment:
    Sudden or drastic career change?

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    Job Interview Tips for Women Over 40


    With the holidays behind us, most of the unemployed are now intensifying their job search efforts. For women over 40, the search for permanent employment is more challenging.


    According to Patricia Siderius, managing director for BPI group (bpigroupus.com), Career Transition Practice of North America, there are some steps you can take to overcome potential age obstacles in the interview process. Siderius, who has more than 20 years experience in career transition/outplacement, career transition coaching, and reorganizational consulting, has helped hundreds of women over 40 land and prepare for job interviews. Siderius recommends 10 interview tips to keep in mind:

    1.   Stay focused. Always keep these three objectives in mind when interviewing:

    a.   Give information about yourself, your experience and your accomplishments;

    b.   Get information about the company and its needs;

    c.    Create a positive impression and let them know you are ready to represent the company.

    2.   Be prepared. Go online and research the organization, its business, product and service lines. Check the social media sites to find out about the company’s culture.

    3.   Show youthful energy. Demonstrate that age is not an obstacle and show excitement when you talk about a specific project you’ve worked on. Laugh when it’s appropriate and smile often. When you laugh or smile, your eyes light up.

    4.   Be fluent in the“youth” culture. This means maintaining social networking sites and being well versed in the current industry terms.

    5.   Reassure. If you’re applying for a job where there is a compensation difference, reassure them that you understand the model has changed because of the economy. Then reassure them again and let them know you’re not going to “jump ship” as soon as another “better paying” job comes around. Emphasize that you’re looking for a long-term relationship.

    6.   Be courageous. Instead of worrying that your education or skill level does not match the job description, talk about how you’ve helped the company accomplish a goal or achieve its revenue projections even though your degree was in anthropology.

    7.   Focus on your strengths. Seasoned workers offer several advantages over younger candidates. Let them know that you have a proven work ethics and have worked with various types of team environments. If you’ve mentored or trained leaders, be proud and share the information.

    8.   Tell a great story. Instead of just saying “I have great people skills,” illustrate how you helped negotiate a contract, calm an irate customer, or persuade a potential buyer. Now you’ve given them a better example of your people skills. Make the story memorable, but keep it brief.

    9.   Dress for success. Choose solid colors over patterns or prints. Your clothes shouldn’t be a distraction. If you’re applying for an executive level position, wear a smart suit, polished shoes, and jewelry that is not overdone. If you’re applying for a customer service position, a suit may not be necessary, but definitely be dressy and businesslike in your choices. Most importantly, select clothes that fit the situation and make you feel your best.

    10. Ask questions. When you ask questions about the job, their expectations, or their unique approach to a problem, you’re showing your interest in the company and in the position. You’re being memorable.

    Siderius, who also works for the U.S. offices of BPI group, reports that the company is joining forces with JVS Chicago to help 100 women find jobs free of charge through a program called “Giving Back.” BPI group is a worldwide leader in management consulting and human resources. JVS is a non-profit, non-sectarian, social service agency that offers career counseling and job placement services.

    For more information on whether you qualify for this unique service, contact
    Linda Wolfe, Director of Career Development and Placement, at JVS Chicago (847) 745-5464.

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