Lenin Pina
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Overcoming older worker stereotypes
Last updated: September 23, 2022
Lenin Pina
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Overcoming older worker stereotypes
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Stop being a victim and start creating more victories! Take back control of your job search success with these quick tips designed to help alter your outlook on today’s employment community.

Make sure you know your rights!

Anyone over 40 knows that age discrimination in hiring process is a very real and often unaddressed problem but a difficult one to prove since employers have a laundry list of reasons they can employ in order to justify why they are selecting another candidate. Nevertheless, age discrimination practice during the hiring process is still illegal and prohibited by the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 (ADEA) so if you believe you are the victim of age discrimination, you can contact the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission to file a claim and/for additional assistance.

Identify key pain points then brace yourself to address them head-on!

Getting noticed on the highly popular but commonly flawed online application process and overcoming the dreaded implicit bias that occurs during the interview process are two of the most significant obstacles that keep highly motivated and skilled individuals from job opportunities they deserve!

In this article I’ll expose the intricacies surrounding these challenges and share alternative strategies to help you overcome these obstacles and experience more success along your job search journey.

It’s not you - the system is broken!

Online job searching is practical, convenient and gives us instant access to all the new local job openings but it can also be painful and frustrating process if you don’t have the right tools and strategies to help you get noticed. Customizing and optimizing your resume and online application profile is the first step towards boosting your job search results and landing more interviews.

The goal is to improve your your application rating during the automated selection process that occurs when you submit your online applications. More than 95% of Fortune 500 companies use an ATS to streamline the recruiting process and keep up with the thousands of applications received weekly, but plenty of smaller employers have embraced the tool too, according to recent data collected by Jobscan.

Understanding ATS is essential!

ATS or Application Tracking Systems filter applications automatically based on given criteria such as keywords, skills, former employers, years of experience and schools attended. This is a fully automated process that instantly occurs when you submit your online application. ATS reviews your resume and application profile in search of the employers preferred criteria and assigns a rating or grade to determine your candidacy. Only high marks get considered to move onto the next level of the hiring process.

Our own Jobcase Community Specialist Laila Nashat recently published a brilliant article with quick resume optimization tips designed to help Boost your online application rating.

Check out this article and start getting more interview call backs today! 

Go functional!

The functional resume format allows you to highlight your strengths, exceptional skills and accomplishments and is perfectly suited for the ATS optimization.

For more resume formatting tips and strategies 

Put your game face on and stomp out misguided stereotypes

Implicit bias and unjust stereotypes are a detrimental reality for older job seekers. The good news is that it is possible to confront implicit bias, and diminish its power over decision-making. First, by understanding the negative social stories about age that might be operating in the job interview; then, by offering alternative narratives to overcome those negative stereotypes.

The following examples are designed to hopefully get you thinking about what these false perceptions may look like, and how to proactively confront them with your own narratives during the interview.

You can’t teach an old dog new tricks, employers may be concerned that older workers require more training time and have trouble adapting to new processes and technology. I looked around at several reputable science, behavioral science and psychology publications and failed to find any scientific evidence to prove there’s a direct correlation between increased and lack of leaning ability. If anything, all the findings I found seemed to prove the opposite.

Be prepared to discuss instances when you volunteered to take on new product and service training within diverse teams in your past employment experience. Outline career related moments when you demonstrated abilities to respond quickly to changing ideas, responsibilities, expectations, trends, strategies and other processes at work then prepare yourself to communicate those experiences effectively during an interview.

Culture fit and adaptability, some employers also think older workers cannot adapt to new workplace cultures or rules. Make it clear that you are comfortable with change and can follow protocol. Again, highlight specific examples of how you successfully executed your adaptability skills within previous job experiences.

Too expensive, experienced workers are often presumed to be overqualified and as a result too expensive to hire and retain. YES! You should pursue employment options that will value your work experience and be prepared to compensate you accordingly for what you bring to the organization. The key is to clearly outline not only what you can offer but to emphasize your potential.

Remember, the hiring selection process for employers weighs highly on investment! Your years of experience doesn’t mean that you’ve reached your peak in new ideas and potential contributions to the industry and organization.

Outline your strengths and potential to fit in with the companies specific job needs and position requirements then embed those objectives into your resume and interview presentation to help boost your value and compensation preferences.

Technical dinosaur, employers may be a concern about a lack of technology skills. Highlight and refer back to technology skills and recent training accomplishments without overestimating them. If you identify this as a real area of concern for getting hired explore online and community access training options to expand your skills and get up to date.

Online training sites like EdX and Coursera offer free and affordable training you can pursue at your own pace.

Think outside the box!

Older workers have found also satisfaction and success by translating their experience into a business of their own. Consulting, freelance, contractor, and gig employment options are not only very popular right now but offer affordable, flexible and fulfilling employment alternatives as well. Don’t limit your industry experience and skills to direct hire job options. Identify your strengths and discover a way to market yourself, become your own boss and master your destiny. The US Small Business Administration has several resources and contacts for local support to help you start your business. Use the link above for more information.


Have you recently been exposed to an unfair and biased hiring experienced?

Use the comment link below to share your story and empower yourself by raising awareness around this issue and helping others.

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Lenin Pina
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brina 2677

I am 44, and I experienced a bit of it. I finished my bachelors degree in Communication Studies last year, 2021. I have a functional resume, and omitted job experience past 8 years, as recommended. I am at the age where it is hard to tell from looking at me, my age. I interviewed with a guy who first told me "How much are you wanting? We pay this." I was surprised. I told him, " The description said, ____, I expect what is offered, and then maybe offered a pay raise, based on my work performance." He said, "You would be surprised at how many want and demand more." I realized he was referring to my my over qualification in education. Because I had no experience. I made the mistake of telling the guy who interviewed me the year I aquired a skill (past 8 years) without telling him the newest skills I acquired and how I absolutely LOVE change and can quickly adapt. He scoffed and said, "Well, a lot has changed since then." As if I didn't know. 😆 Dude sounded older than me and ranted about how he likes to run his teams, and if I wanted to start training, these are his times. He wasn’t even kind about it. I later sent him an email thanking him and told him not to be considered for the position. I now realize, I the challenge.

34w
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Bonnie Perry

Yes, age discrimination is real and everywhere. I saw a lot in Federal Service as well as private and contractor companies. But remember, you have more experience, more resiliency, and you're tougher. Don't cave in to offices that don't appreciate you, find a place that treasures you for the gem that you are!! Keep your head up!!

1y
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2
Notyour Business

Older people out of work are also out of luck. Employers get away with all sorts of discrimination and always will. Nothing is going to change about that.

2y
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1
Naing Aung

It is age discrimination and anyone whoever encountered/suffered this should unite and file a lawsuit. everyone gets old. Trust me. and even our presidents are old. that is why the law was written and passed a long time ago to prevent this kind of discrimination. none of the employees have to suffer this.

2y
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2
Eva DeCarton

It is so sad that after years of successful career I am afraid to show my face for interview. It is our culture that desires pretty facade no matter what's behind it.

2y
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6
Kristina Guadagni

I was pleased to see the paragraph header "It's not you - the system is broken" I've been saying that for 2 years. It certainly doesn't work for job-seekers. I wonder if this system even works for those hiring. Do they really get the right/best person for the job, and do those people end up staying? I've applied for 75+ jobs and had only a few interviews. My resume has been gone over by recruiters and advisors and I have been told it is fine. Perhaps I will try the functional format rather than chronological.

2y
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2
Armetta Norton

I am an experienced RN. Never before have I had ANY trouble getting hired. Three years ago my husband and I relocated for his job. It never occurred to me that I may not be able to get hired. I have a wide range of experience with a very good work history and references. I was in my late 50's when I started looking. I am now early 60's. I actually have had comments made to me, such as, "this job is not for 'older nurses'." I am very qualified, but unable to even get an interview anymore.

2y
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5
David Urano

As an older job seeker, I am concerned about this. It surprises me how many companies have a laundry list of abilities, requirements, and skills; but still characterize the position as "entry level". Are they serious?

2y
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