Generational Differences at Work by Lynn Berger

If you are older than 50 and looking for a job, you need to be aware of generational differences. Gen X, Gen Y, Millennials and baby boomers have different communication styles and approaches to finding work.

Did you know that:  many younger workers do not listen to voice mail messages?  So do not babble or leave long winded messages with a recruiter or potential employer.   You may have no idea what their age is.  I know Gen X and Gen Y individuals who don’t bother to play back voice mail messages.

When you interview, don't be surprised if a younger person interviews you and does not treat you with as much respect as you would like.  Older workers often feel they deserve more respect from younger colleagues than they receive. 

Despite this, if you're interested in the position, you must make the best possible presentation in each interview.   The first person interviewing you might only be doing the initial screening.   If you show any disrespect or have a bad attitude, you will do yourself a disservice. Here are some tips to make you more marketable:  

Network constantly. Attend events, parties, association meetings, etc anything that gets you out with people.  Beforehand, practice a two-minute pitch to communicate who you are and what you do.

Keep your computer skills current.  Classes are available through local adult education programs and at community colleges, community centers, and other civic organizations.  Having the ability to work with major software programs, databases, and presentation applications keeps you current and is always appreciated in the marketplace.

 Stay active. Keep a young state of mind.  Take classes in any area of interest.  Volunteer.  Every experience you have is a resource for networking and building your contacts. Research employers who value older workers (read the "Best Employers for people over 50" on ) and consult other links.

Use your strengths. Generational differences at work can complement one another and work to one another's benefit. There are many positive attributes to being an older worker, including dependability, strong people skills and a greater propensity to solve conflicts.   



Lynn Berger

Lynn Berger, MA, EdM, is a National Certified Counselor, Certified Career Counselor, and Licensed Mental Health Counselor. She has appeared as a guest expert on radio and television shows across the nation and has been featured in such publications as the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Post, Newsday,,, and Lynn Berger is a member of the executive board of the Career Development Specialists Network and New York Member at Large at the Mid-Atlantic Career Counselors Association.. She lives and works in New York City and has a private career counseling and coaching business for the past 20 plus years.

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