Does the old adage, "You can't teach an old dog new tricks," ring true in today's increasingly digital workplace? Not necessarily, especially in the IT industry where skills, not age, matter most. That according to Rick Gillis, a consultant and career search expert, who tells CIO that, "Most IT firms want to know one of two things: Can you make them money or can you save them money? Then they'll want to hire you, regardless of your age."
Hard skills, adaptability and a penchant for learning are important for any older job seeker, but it's not all on them. Companies must encourage employee growth and development, regardless of age or experience. Here's what experts recommend IT pros do to get up to speed — and to get hired.
1. Know the terminology: "I find it disturbing when I speak to clients who are older and they aren't spending time studying, staying hip and up-to-date on new technology advances," says Gillis. Skils, however, aren't enough. IT pros must prove that they are up to speed and show their impact during previous jobs.
2. Quantify efforts: Gillis describes a former client who struggled to demonstrate his achievements for a job. "I advised him to take a personal inventory, to reach out to his contact and determine how to quantify what he did," Gillis says. He contacted his former boss at a bank and found out that his work saved the bank more than $500,000. "While it did take some time and digging to determine how to quantify his efforts, it was worth it," says Gillis.
3. Mentor newer employees: Companies, too, have a responsibility to close generation and skill gaps. "Mentoring is a two-way street, and even when I, as the CIO, am paired up with employees who are much younger and lower on the corporate ladder, I learn something every day," says Mike Capone, CIO at ADP. "It's like having that veteran player in the locker room, so to speak, but it's a mutually beneficial exercise. The younger folks keep the older workers current and up-to-date, while the more experienced folks bring a level of maturity to teams."
What it comes down to, explains Capone, is how companies incorporate learning into their day-to-day operations: "Whether you're looking at employees who are 20 or 60, technology, business needs and skills change at a much faster rate right now than they did even five years ago."
[Image via CanStock]
Acronis is a Swiss company, founded in Singapore. Celebrating two decades of innovation, Acronis has more than 2,000 employees in 45 locations. Acronis Cyber Protect solution is available in 26 languages in over 150 countries and is used by 18,000 service providers to protect over 750,000 businesses.