Age discrimination is an unfortunate reality of the work sphere that can hinder your job search, and it isn't limited to unskilled older workers just entering the workforce. Even with vast experience and an executive status under your belt, you may have a harder time landing a job after hitting the 50-year mark. Here are a few ways savvy older professionals can overcome age discrimination and increase their chances of scoring a job.
Accepting the Reality of Age Discrimination
Age discrimination is illegal, but that doesn't mean it doesn't still run rampant in the office and interview room. This might manifest itself as potential employers believing you're outdated, not flexible and resistant to change just because you're over age 50. Although this reality is disheartening, don't walk into the interview with a negative attitude. Instead, overcome age discrimination by showing yourself to be the ideal professional regardless of age.
For starters, avoid mentioning the topic of age directly, instead guiding the interviewer's attention toward your strengths. Talk about your background and experience as well as the results to show for it. Continuously engage with interviewer, and ask thoughtful questions.
Staying Up-to-Date on Technology and Trends
Older professionals are up against younger competitors with a knack for tech and Internet solutions. Fight age discrimination by proving that you are just as capable in this area. If you haven't already done so, create social media accounts on platforms such as LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook, and learn the basics of connecting with people and using each. You should also have a strong handle on the software and tools relevant to your industry, such as the latest versions of Microsoft Word and Excel.
Another way to fight age discrimination is to use your age in your favor. Demonstrate the professional value that you've gained from your years of executive experience, such as knowing when to take risks, knowing how to collaborate and exhibiting good decision-making skills. At the same time, make known that you're flexible and open to making changes to your thinking and work style.
Building a Network
At any stage in life or along the career path, a major component of getting a job is still the people you know. Take time to connect with other industry professionals on and offline. At networking events, smile and be social, coming up with questions and compliments to get conversations flowing. Strengthen your online presence on career networks such as LinkedIn, and ensure your profiles are filled out and up-to-date.
A great way to boost your network is to be of service. Reach out to people you've met, letting them know what you can do for them. Place the same information in your LinkedIn bio. As you help more and more people out, many are happy to someday return the favor.
Age discrimination can dampen your hopes for scoring a fulfilling job, but fear not. These simple practices can help you fight ageism and climb to the top of the candidate list.
Photo courtesy of photostock at FreeDigitalPhotos.net