Ageism is the bias and discrimination of an individual based on their age. Ageism presents itself in just about every environment; interpersonally and in professional settings. Both young and older people are subject to experience some form of ageism, but the harsh reality is that youth is glorified in most scenarios, so older individuals are more likely to experience its harmful effects.
Age discrimination in the workplace is bewildering because, from the time we enter the workforce, our goal is to gain as much valuable experience as possible in order to mold ourselves into the most desirable, capable candidate. In turn, many feel that the time they’ve spent doing so is used against them in the long run as their age is met with doubt and dismissal in the hiring process.
Though this may seem dismal, don’t be discouraged. Knowing what challenges you may be up against is a great way to arm yourself with the tools to prepare. Here are some ways you can better your chances of landing the job you need if you suspect that ageism may be holding you back.
Honesty is always the best policy in life and in the application process, yet there is no need to broadcast irrelevant details such as age if it isn’t necessary. Try shortening your resume to the last relevant 10 years of work experience. Your potential employer is most likely not as interested in what you were doing 20+ years ago. Also, a good practice to protect yourself from potential bias so qualities take the forefront is to omit years and dates from your resume such as college graduations.
Take opportunities to demonstrate your technological capabilities. A major reason employers have reservations about hiring older candidates is due to the assumption that they will have trouble handling tech-related obligations. Find subtle ways to let your interviewer know that you are active on social media and your previous job experience has given you varied experience working computer systems. You can go so far as doing a software course or challenge to display your abilities to a future employer.
An issue that can come up applying as an older candidate is the presumption that you may be overqualified for the job. Take the initiative to address this in your interview. Expressing why you are in fact right for the job you’re applying to can alleviate the concerns of your interviewer.
Utilizing your existing network and staying involved in your industry is a sure way to ensure that you’ll have less difficulty finding your next job. Exploring career opportunities through a network of people who know you or know of you can possibly help you avoid employers who’ll be so focused on your age. Even utilizing recruitment services is a path to explore. They have vast networks and are connected to decision makers, so allow them to share your story to their clients which can land you your next opportunity.
Adjusting your state of mind around age is essential in approaching your interview with the confidence you need to make an impression on employers. Aging can be a difficult and isolating process if you’re focused on what you feel you’re missing or lacking. Instead, zero in on things on attributes you’ve gained over the years and sell those to your next interviewer. Executive decision-making, assertiveness, and stress management skills are all traits that improve with time and would be valuable in a work setting.
As you get older, continue to learn and keep up to date with what’s current in technology so you can feel self-assured in a situation where you may have to get acquainted with a new system. Also keep active and learn new things outside of your workplace, life is about continuous learning.
We wish you luck on your next career move, implement some of these tips to combat ageism ideals and we’re sure you’ll have the confidence to go after your perfect job and nail those interviews.
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