Age, as they say, is just a number, but is your age preventing you from landing a job? Here are some ways to tackle ageism head on!
Make sure your resume is no more than two pages. Most recruiters will scan it in about 20-30 seconds, so shorter is key. Choose a traditional font, such as Times New Roman, in 9- to 12-point size, and avoid color or images.
Your resume should tell YOUR story, not just provide a list of job titles and dates. Highlight your accomplishments and work experience that is relevant to the job you are applying to. Match the experience and skills you include with the exact skills employers say they’re seeking in their job posting. Be sure to stick to the most recent years and avoid giving dates when it comes to decades-old experience.
In place of emphasizing your length of experience during an interview, highlight the accomplishments you’ve achieved over the years, and demonstrate your worth. Be sure to show genuine excitement about the work that you do.
Instead of discussing how many years you’ve been in the field, say something like this: "I’m thrilled about the potential of being able to bring my skills to this company! I enjoy working within a dynamic team and collaborating with others who share my interest in this line of work.”
By mentioning some beneficial contributions and showcasing your loyalty it will make you more memorable to your potential employer.
Sometimes during an interview, uncomfortable questions about your age may come up. Unfortunately, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act does not prohibit an employer from asking about an applicant’s (or employee’s age), or from asking other questions that may help the employer determine your age such as when you graduated high school.
While it is currently legal for them to inquire, but it is 100% illegal for the employer to take that information and then discriminate based on your age. For example, saying something such as, “We are looking for a younger demographic for our company."
Luckily, if the question gets brought up, there are ways around it. Shift the focus away from age and focus on the skills and invaluable experience you bring.
Here are some examples:
"I am confident that my years of experience in this area, coupled with my continued passion for learning, will make me an asset to your team! Former employers have embraced age diversity and valued it. Am I correct to think that COMPANY X shares the same mindset?:
"Is there a concern about some skill sets or education related to this position? I am confident that my past experiences and accomplishments make me an ideal candidate for this role. I’d love to briefly highlight some recent projects to demonstrate my ability to succeed in this role."
Ideally, the interviewer will realize what they asked was inappropriate. How they react will also say a lot about the company’s philosophy on diversity and their overall work culture.
Staying up to date on current trends and technology is a great way to show that you’re “with the times.” It’s no secret that companies who have greater diversity in their employees evolve more rapidly and successfully. However, ageism is a real hardship that many of those in the workforce struggle with. Show them you’re just as knowledgeable as any other employee. By demonstrating that continued learning is a priority of yours makes you will become more hirable. Consider additional certifications you could earn and areas you can improve on.
Here are some great resources for expanding your skillset + staying up to date with current trends: