Does ageism exist? Absolutely.
Is it the reason you aren’t landing a new job? Not necessarily.
What does this mean for older workers? More attention and intention needs to be paid to the job search approach. While for most job searchers it is important to cater your brand (showcasing the best version of yourself and minimizing any concerns), for the older worker this is critical.
Below are 10 tips to help do exactly that.
Sell your skills not your timeline. Resumes should not exceed 20 years. Instead of emphasizing your years of experience on documents and in interviews, showcase relevant skill sets, hindsight, problems you have solved, and the value you will add. Don’t forget: qualities such as being able to hit the ground running, needing minimal workplace supervision, and being connected within the field are often invaluable to employers. If you’re unsure where to draw the line or how to incorporate your most relevant but older experience, some professional assistance is recommended.
Become increasingly comfortable with technology. Using computers and venues like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn show you are up to date, able to learn new tools, and at least somewhat technically savvy. These social-media sites also enable you to network with employers and other professionals.
Show your energy, enthusiasm, and positivity. Layoffs and job search can take their toll, leading to feelings of discouragement and defeat. Combine that with experienced worker stereotypes and you’ve got one big barrier. Demonstrating eagerness (not desperation) to take on a new job, showing enthusiasm for the opportunity, and conveying positivity about the role (without a hint of arrogance) is key. Even if you “fake it ‘til you make it.”
Speak to the specific position. Your wealth of experience may mean you have diverse knowledge. However, your documents, social media, and even the examples used in an interview need to pull from relevant experience. Period. Its tempting to showcase your greatest accomplishment(s) but you risk being deemed over qualified. It may feel like you are hiding your history, but the ultimate goal is to sell your fit. Struggling at this? Let’s talk.
Gather recommendations. For job-seekers of any age, one of the most powerful tools in recent years is the LinkedIn recommendation. Recruiters value and look for these endorsements. Hard copy or emailed recommendation letters can also come in handy during the application and interview process. Ensure, however, that your recommendations are from positions in the same timeline as your resume.
Stay current. Continue to attend conferences and meetings of professional organizations. Read trade publications and blogs to stay up-to-date on your field. But don’t just absorb knowledge; disseminate it, too. Consider starting a blog, or respond to questions on LinkedIn Answers, Quora, and other discussion forums related to your field.
Keep improving. Dispel the myth that older workers have a hard time learning new things, get some training. In addition to showing your train-ability, online learning can fill the resume gap during unemployment, help you improve upon old knowledge, learn new skills, or transition into a new career field.
Look the part. Dying your hair isn’t necessary, but first impressions are everything. Wearing current clothing can help present the most relevant version of yourself. Did you know that in most communities, across many industries, suits are no longer necessary unless you are interviewing for a high-level management position? Simple tweaks such as this can help you appear more current and less outdated.
Be respectful. You will interview with someone significantly younger than you. They have earned that position and most of all, hold the power when it comes to your ability to land the job. Treat them with the same respect as an elder manager. Win them over.
Address It. Develop a confident statement to use in an interview that addresses some of their potential concerns. Feel out the interview, and if necessary, state it towards the end. For example if asked: Is there anything else you’d like to add, you may respond with: “I may be one of your older applicants, but I can guarantee that I will bring innovation and reliability, with a commitment to learning and growing with your company”
And, to take your search one step further add AARP’s job search board to your list of websites: https://jobs.aarp.org/v#
Unsure if you are doing it well enough? Get in contact and lets review!