Age discrimination is a serious problem for older job seekers, with those over 35 listing it as the biggest obstacle to getting hired in a 2017 AARP survey. Although there are laws prohibiting age-based hiring decisions, it is difficult to prove wrongdoing. Fortunately, there are ways to combat ageism during the hiring process. Here are a few suggestions for improving your chances of getting a job where you can thrive.
Age-Proof Your Resume
Age discrimination is easy when a quick glance at your resume dates you. Removing clues about your age improves your chances of getting a job. Start by using a modern format and font. Then, remove any outdated resume elements, such as the objective statement, and streamline your contact details. Provide a professional email address, your city and state, and your mobile number.
Next, streamline the Experience section. Stick to job experiences and accomplishments that are less than 10 years old. This helps you get past applicant tracking software, which may be set to filter out older applicants with too much experience. Leave off any skills that most applicants are going to have, including Microsoft Office proficiency, and instead, focus on directly targeting your resume to the qualifications required by the job posting. Proofread your resume with an eye for age-related clues. Are you using two spaces between sentences or outdated buzzwords? Careful attention to these details helps reduce the likelihood of age discrimination.
Revitalize Your LinkedIn Profile
A future-oriented LinkedIn profile tells prospective employers that you are current in your industry and looking forward to new innovations. Use a photo that shows your youthful side to help minimize potential age discrimination. You don't want an old shot that misrepresents you, but a professional shot with a friendly smile and some modern styling can take a few years off your looks. Next, energize your profile by including your passions. Consider including a personal mission statement and some information about hobbies and causes you support. Repost industry news and articles about the latest trends. Join busy, active groups with people of all ages. Avoid listing groups that target older workers.
Interview with Confidence
Once you make it to the interview, it's much easier to overcome age discrimination by confidently selling the benefits of your experience. Choose a modern, yet professional, outfit, stand tall and treat everyone you meet with kindness. Do your research beforehand, and listen well, targeting your answers tightly to the needs of the company. Avoid talking about your age, but if the topic of those extra years does come up, focus on how your specific experience has prepared you for solving problems, handling change and dealing with diverse groups of people. As an older job seeker, be aware that it is illegal for interviewers to ask questions about your age, but if it happens and you want the job, the best response is a confident and honest answer.
Remember that your attitude toward your age influences how hiring managers perceive you. One of the best ways to fight age discrimination is to feel secure in your potential worth to each organization for which you apply. If you're weak in the areas of modern business practices or technology, consider signing up for a workshop or course to get up to speed and fuel your self-confidence.
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