How to beat ageism and get hired – If you’ve been in the workforce for a while, you’ve likely seen or experienced age discrimination at work – two out of three workers ages 45 to 74, according to the AARP. People often think it’s more prevalent for employees 50 or older, but it can start even earlier. Seniors discrimination is a reality in today’s job market, and employers may not hire an older person, for fear that they have one foot outside the retirement door.
First, you should know that age discrimination is illegal in the United States. Employers are not permitted to treat job candidates or employees less favorably because they are 40 years of age or over, and if you believe they have them, you can file an indictment with the EEOC.
Unfortunately, stereotypes are quite pervasive, and I think most of you have never had a problem identifying A as Baby Boomers, B as Millennials or C as Generation X. And age discrimination – age discrimination – in job hunting is a fact that hits both ends. Spectrum. As a job seeker, it is very easy to fall prey to it (especially when you don’t get the job you are looking for) if you don’t have the right attitude.
At what age do employers stop hiring?
Many experienced candidates are terrified of facing age discrimination in the job search process. They worry about being too old, too expensive, or too demanding to get the job they want. When calls from recruiters and hiring managers aren’t pouring in like a tsunami, it’s easy to get frustrated. Maybe everyone is looking for someone slightly younger – or a lot – younger. Should the “40-plus” crowd stick to their current jobs for life? And if you are doing research, is it practical to set your sights on just to get rid of unemployment and get a job?
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The hard truth is that age discrimination is a real thing, especially when it comes to looking for a great job. It could happen anywhere, despite age awareness campaigns and threats of lawsuits. Hiring managers are human beings, and this sometimes means that there are unfavorable stereotypes and past experiences for seasoned professionals. You cannot control what baggage and beliefs the employer will bring to the interview. However, there are a lot of factors that can help you beat ageism and get hired.
How do you overcome ageism?
Regardless of your age, to beat ageism and get hired, you must have strong job searching skills. Experienced workers often describe their accomplishments poorly on their resume, don’t have a LinkedIn account or fail to present themselves positively in an interview and then claim they didn’t get the job because they were discriminated against.
If you are going to be successful in marketing your services to a new employer, it is imperative that you understand in advance all (or as many as possible) of the stated and unspoken objections that make employers reserve reservations about hiring people after they turn 50. This way, you can proactively disable those harmful worries.
How to Beat Ageism and Get Hired
· Avoid looking your age on paper
Whether it’s your LinkedIn profile, cover letter, or résumé, hiring managers or recruiters will likely meet you first on paper (or online). The “Millennium Star”, GenXer, or Baby Boomer either flips or fades with the way they present themselves in writing.
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Star Millennials will peek at the opportunity to showcase their writing ability in their cover letter. It makes an impact because, unfortunately, most people don’t even bother to write one. It’s also a good way to debunk the myth that millennials are only able to write text messages and cannot write in complete sentences.
· Your CV should reflect current technology
The database architecture I worked on in 2011 was probably the best ever. And hey, it’s probably worth going back. But no one is going to return it, and you have to stop trying to make it a thing. If you have experience with outdated frameworks, languages, or technologies, drop it from your resume. Focus more on the things you know companies are using right now. More than that, craft your resume to focus on the technology included in the job description.
Your skills are the most important, and a discussion of that random but wonderful thing that you have been fascinated by all those past years on your CV will only highlight your age, not your experience. Be contextual; the more you can demonstrate proficiency in using technology today, the more valuable the years of mastering the lost art will appear.
· Be sure to keep pace with technological development
It is important to be current in your field – and the technology you use – and to be aware of the latest trends. This does not mean that you must master every platform. “You don’t want to sit there and talk about how much you love Snapchat. You can’t try so hard. Nobody expects you to be tech savvy, but they also don’t want you to be a dinosaur.”
At the very least, include any social media profiles on your resume so that the employer can see that you are comfortable with the technology. If there are other platforms, apps, or software used in your industry, be proficient with these as well. If you are not a tech expert, enlist the help of a child or adult friend, or consider taking an online course or a local tech course if you need help. Try Coursera.org for online options.
· Find the right company
Age or not, not every employer will be a good fit for you. Some corporate cultures are geared towards youth – startups, for example – and you might not want to be older than everyone else in the room. Additionally, some of the chores may not be worth your time. There are companies [I know] that will not hire someone over 40.
Read reviews online at sites like kununu, where current and former employees can rate employers based on a variety of factors, including attitude toward older workers. Grids can also help you eliminate the best places to focus. It is especially important for more mature workers, because the only way to truly understand an organization’s culture is to communicate with people who are familiar with the list of target companies.
Pay attention to the age of employees when you visit an organization for an interview. Look for a range of employee ages rather than focusing on people in their 20s.