Dear Matt: My husband was laid off a few years ago as an electronics technician. He went back to school and became a hospital equipment technician. He got excellent grades, and has a great work ethic. He gets many interviews, but never gets hired. He is 61 and wants to work 10 more years. Do you have any advice for this older worker?

Matt: Your husband seems to be on the right track. He was proactive and went back to school and improved his skills, something many people - regardless of age - consider doing after they've been in the workforce for a while. And because he is getting interviews, employers are at least interested in hearing more about what he has to offer.

Show What You Can Do

My first reaction is something is going wrong in the interview process. Look over the tone of your question. You said he got excellent grades. Is he telling the employer he got excellent grades, or is he showing by using examples from his education to show how he can do the job he is interviewing for? It doesn't matter if you get an A or a B if you can use concrete examples of how your education or related experience can help you perform the job they need you to do.

 

You also mention he wants to work 10 more years. Employers aren't thinking 10 years down the road when hiring. They are thinking, "How can hiring this person help us solve our immediate problems?" That applies whether you are 31, 41, 51 or 61 years old. If he is focusing on how he wants the job because it fits his plan to work 10 more years, he will never get hired. If he focuses and talks about how his skills, experience and education can help him perform - at a high level - the specific duties of the job, then employers will want to hire him.

Best Person For The Job

The main thing is to go into the interview confident, positive, upbeat and prepared to show you are the best person for the job. Don't let negatives of past interviews hurt you or your confidence. Each interview is a new chance to shine. If you got the interview, they believe you have potential. Use facts, figures and examples of what you can do to show that potential - and you will get a job.


Matt Krumrie has written and specialized in career advice for 10 years. He lives and works in the Twin Cities. Matt answers readers' questions every week; e-mail him at askmatt@startribune.com.