Across the United States, we’ve seen a common complaint among large corporations and small family businesses - a shortage of workers. Employers claim they are scrambling to find enough applicants to fill positions. However, this problem has made the shadows of age discrimination in hiring even more prominent - particularly in the age of job searching during COVID.
According to AARP, 2 out of 3 workers between ages 45 and 75 have faced age discrimination while on the job, and thousands of workers state they’ve been repeatedly turned away because of their age, despite having the right qualifications for the job.
If you feel that your age might negatively impact your ability to find a job, consider these 5 tips to help you succeed!
Before submitting your application to a potential employer, it’s a good idea to give your resume some attention. You'll want to stay current with the look of your resume, paying attention to font choices and layout styles.
Eliminate work experience more than 10 years old from your resume and exclude it from online forms and applications. Remove the dates you attended high school or college and instead, emphasize your current skills with tangible examples and illustrate how these match the needs of the available position.
Before your interview, take the time to plan some mock interviews, especially if you are just getting back into the working world. Have a friend or family member ask you a few sample interview questions, so you feel comfortable when it’s time for the interview.
You may have to work a little harder than younger competitors to show that you’ll fit in, so be sure to think carefully about how you want to be perceived. It will be worth it!
Practice confident, calm body language, and make sure to keep eye contact and smile throughout. If you are hit with a tough interview question that you are unsure how to answer, just take a deep breath and take a moment to compose your thoughts before responding.
When having conversations with recruiters or hiring managers, be sure to use this as a chance to express your excitement for the role and the work that you do. Highlighting out all of your years of experience (despite how meaningful) can come across as intimidating and may make you appear “overqualified” for the job.
Instead of discussing how many years of experience you have or how many similar positions you’ve held, use concrete examples of your competencies and skills to show how you have a leg up on younger applicants. This is a great opportunity to communicate your willingness to learn and adopt new practices. Mention you recognize that you’ll be receiving training on the job, and are excited to acquire new skills!
Ask yourself, how does MY experience fit into what they do now? Support the reasons why they should hire you versus younger competition. What does your experience provide over someone else who has only been doing the job for 2 years?
Make sure you’re up to speed on technology and the latest trends in your industry. You don’t need to be fluent in every platform imaginable, but at the very least, include any social media profiles or other programs on your resume that you regularly use so that an employer can see that you’re comfortable with technology.
If you’re not a tech whiz, consider taking an online or local technology course to brush up on things or to learn new skills if you need to. Employers will love that you are staying current, and it will show initiative that you are self-educating. Remember, they want someone who can keep up! Check out these sites for great online courses.
Having a deep understanding of a company’s core values and mission and demonstrating your alignment with them is critical to overcoming the potentially unspoken concern that the rest of the team may be younger than you.
Make a note of the company culture, and if possible, try to land an informational interview with someone from the company! Having an internal champion sharing praises of you before you even apply to the job can give you a huge leg up.
Have you ever faced age discrimination in the hiring process? Share your story in the comments below.