Ever since the boomers became an economic and voting powerhouse in the 60’s and 70’s, the youth culture has ruled. Decades later, we’ve all read horror stories about seasoned employees being let go in favor of younger staff who ‘think outside the box’, ‘are innovators’ and ‘aren’t afraid to take a chance’.
We can’t deny that age discrimination exists. However, there are ways to combat it and get your next dream job.
Focus on Experience, Not Age
The article states: “Fight negative age stereotypes by focusing on your knowledge and real-world experience. Take pride in your achievements, maturity, and wisdom.”
Excellent advice. How many twenty or thirtysomethings have the depth of experience that an older adult has? With age comes experience a younger person hasn’t yet accumulated, no matter how innovative they may be. Older workers are often more reliable, less likely to call in sick on Mondays because they partied too hard over the weekend. Childcare issues are generally nonexistent. Age pays in many ways.
Prove You’re Technically Savvy
The article further states: “Flash the BlackBerry or smart phone. Older workers often get a bad rap for their unwillingness or inability to adapt to change – particularly when it comes to technology.”
Make certain you’re up-to-date on the most used office programs. There are many online sites that will teach you how to use Word, Excel and other popular software. Become an expert before you apply for a new position.
Use Social Media to Your Advantage
According to the article: Network, network, network. In addition to your personal network, find work opportunities on employment websites, job boards, corporate websites, temporary agencies, networking and job clubs, career fairs and headhunters.”
LinkedIn is one of the best social media sites to learn about ‘hidden’ job opportunities. Even Facebook and Twitter are good sources.
Look Stylish, Not Dated
If your work attire is five to ten years old, get a new wardrobe for your interviews. Don’t try to look like you’re 20 again – you’ll only make yourself seem older. Dress stylishly and appropriately. If hairstyles have changed since you last sought a new job, then change your look to reflect the times. Unfortunately, if you look old and dated, a hiring manager may feel your skills are no different.
Update Your Resume
Resumes have changed a lot in the last decade or so. There was a time when an applicant could simply list every single job held and schools attended, then waltz into a new position. No more. With the Great Recession you have to prove now, more than ever, what you can bring to a company. To do that, your resume needs to be accomplishment focused rather than task focused. Hiring managers and recruiters want to see results of your efforts. If you’ve had a long and successful career, this is where you’ll outshine someone younger. Prove it by showcasing your achievements and quantifying them with percentages of improvement, dollars saved/earned and the time periods in which this took place.
Never list all of your employment on a resume. Go back no farther than 15 years – 10 if you’re in Information Technology. To do otherwise will date you and may keep you from getting an interview.
The new normal is that most of us will be working well into our 60’s and 70’s. Age can be an asset, if you know how to present it.
The certified writers at ResumeEdge have worked with thousands of older jobseekers in 40+ industries. In addition to resume writing, ResumeEdge also offers resume editing, cover letters, Linked In profiles and interview counseling through its JobInterviewEdge service.