Recently, I uploaded a post on the subject of being “Overqualified”. It was my reaction to being turned down for a job on the basis that I was “overly qualified” for the position.
Well, here’s a different tack: Why should you—you know who you are—hire me?
Let’s get the ugly part out of the way first: I’m over 40. That means:
1. I’ve got “life experience”. I know things a 25-year-old probably hasn’t learned yet. Even if that 25-year-old has learned some of them, they still bother me far less.
2. The major events that are likely to disrupt my work have either already happened, or—if they haven’t happened by now—are never going to happen. The possible exceptions to this are prolonged illness (which, if it happens, is 15–20 years away, anyway) and/or death—but at least one of these is in your future, too.
3. Your EEO/diversity stats will benefit from you hiring me, even though I’m a white male. Old people count, dammit.
4. My house is paid for, so I don’t need you to pay me an outrageous salary just so I can make my way-expensive mortgage payments. I just need a fair, decent salary so I can pay bills and my property taxes, get my car serviced on a regular basis, maybe go somewhere with the wife on our anniversary, and be able to put a little bit away for that retirement I’ll probably never get to enjoy (and I’m not sure I want anyway). 5. My wife’s kids are grown up and out of the house, so I don’t have to worry about covering tuition payments, or the cost of Junior’s new car, or any of that other crap that goes along with kids as they approach adulthood.
Now that we’ve got that dirty little bit of business out of the way, let’s get to the stuff that actually has something to do with me.
6. I do good work. Not just because you pay me, but because I want to be good at what I do. I spent nearly five years doing real estate escrow. I hated the job—which was supposed to be temporary—and I definitely didn’t want the position I advanced to (and said so on more than one occasion). But I was good at it. People who’d been in the business for far longer than I was told me I was good at it. That didn’t make me like the job any better—but I was good at it. Not just because the job required it, or because mistakes would affect other people, but because doing a good job was a reward in and of itself.
I’ve actually sent you my resume because I want to work for you. Given what I’ve just told you, how do you think I’m going to do in the position?
7. I pay attention to details. That’s not to say I never make mistakes—we all make mistake (see?)—but I’m attentive enough to details that I will actually take the time and effort to fix the mistakes I make, no matter how embarrassed I may be at having made those mistakes in the first place.
8. I’ve got an excellent grasp of spelling, grammar, and punctuation—and I’m not afraid to use it. This means that I’m an extra line of defense against potentially embarrassing and/or costly typos, spelling errors, punctuation errors, and/or grammatical mistakes.
9. I’ve got some skills. You may not think that all of them are necessary for the job, but I can guarantee you that all of them have helped shape me in some way, and influence the ways in which I work—and chances are that you’ll probably find me to be invaluable when something comes along that requires either the use of those skills, or enough knowledge of them to evaluate others you may want to bring aboard to perform the work that requires them.
10. I’m flexible. Because of all the things I know, all the things I’ve experienced, and all the skills I possess, I know that there’s often more than one way to achieve the desired results.
11. In every job I’ve had, and in every class I’ve taken, I’ve been one of those folks that others approach for help with something. Maybe it’s something as simple as how to spell a word. Maybe it’s how to perform a task in a particular software program. I’m a resource.
12. I’m loyal. I don’t jump ship for the slightest of reasons. I used to work for a startup company. About a year or so after I started there, a competing company started up in another part of town. They lured many of our employees away (fortunately, they weren’t necessarily our best and brightest) by offering them $12 an hour, whereas our company was paying only $9 an hour. I’ve never thought greed solved anything, and I liked the people I worked with, so I didn’t even entertain the thought of leaving. Those of us who stayed were rewarded for our loyalty—the company raised everybody’s salaries to match what the new competitor was offering. I stayed with the company until it was acquired a couple of years by that competitor (who hadn’t been able to get very far, since all their potential customers had long-term contracts with us)—who subsequently laid off everyone in the original company, including me. (A few years later, that company doesn’t exist anymore, either.)
13. I have integrity. I’m not going to pretend to be someone I’m not in order to get you to like me (or not fire me). I’m going to be honest about my abilities. I’m not going to steal from you. I will show up for work on time. I will call you if I can’t come into work because of illness or injury. I will notify you in advance of medical, dental, and other appointments that will require me to be absent from work for part of the day. If I have concerns about how a policy or practice is going to affect the business, I will voice my opinion.
14. I probably don’t want your job. If I did, I would have either started my own business doing the same thing a long time ago, or tried to get a job with one of your competitors.
15. As I mentioned in that earlier post, if I am “overqualified”” for the position, then you’ll be getting a real bargain by hiring me.
Last of all,
16. All of the above means that I can contribute something of value to your business. Isn’t that why you need to hire somebody in the first place?
(27 July 2012—strikethroughs added 5 August 2015)