8 Anti-Ageism Approaches to Finding a Job
They say you’re only as old as you feel.
Unfortunately, when facing a recruiter who’s looking at your physical age, it can become a potential barrier to employment.
Age discrimination can affect the old and the young. In many cases, the young appear inexperienced and ineffectual. Older workers can come across as outmoded or overqualified. Certain industries may favour certain age brackets, while dismissing the value of others.
By no means do we condone ageism, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t still a blight on a professional world that aims to live without biases. So we’re here to offer you some tips on how to bypass that bias when it comes to finding your place in the workforce today.
Here are 8 approaches that will help remove the focus of your merit from your age to your accomplishments!
1. Clean Your Contact Info
Between jobs, you may be using a personal email address to communicate with potential employers. We recommend having a professional format, with first dot last name:
Remove any pop culture references, and, above all, scrap any email that has your birth year or unnecessary numbers. While firstname.lastname@example.org might be an easy way to distinguish your address from others with a similar name, it’s unnecessary, and often seen as unprofessional.
Is your contact info clean?
2. Your Education Is Not Time-Sensitive
When building your resume, you will want to list your completed levels of education. What you don’t need to do, at the time of submitting a resume, is list the exact dates of graduation.
Your employer may wish to verify the credentials listed at some point. Then, of course you should comply. Until that point, your degrees and diplomas speak for themselves, regardless of date.
Is your resume ready to go?
3. Handpick Your Resume Details
While you can avoid submitting educational dates on the first pass, you will still need to paint a dated picture of your employment history when building a resume. Failure to do so will only raise red flags for your recruiter.
That doesn’t mean you have to write an entire autobiography. If you have a long and storied career already, try focusing on only the last 10-15 years. Stick to relevant positions. Highlight your accomplishments and how you’ve grown in that time, to remind them that your experience is an asset and advantage.
Show them that you have current, contemporary knowledge. Reference trends and keywords that are new to the industry. Ensure that you renew any requisite certificates or licenses, and list those latest dates clearly.
Is your resume relevant?
4. Show You Can Adapt To Overcome
Older workers carry a negative stereotype of being inflexible, and unable to keep up with fast-paced industry standards. Conversely, young workers are often assumed to have not had the chance to prove their mettle.
Remember that the prejudices a recruiter might impose only serve to highlight what it is they are really looking for. If there is concern over your ability to adapt quickly and confidently to new circumstances, then prove to them through your past experience that you welcome that type of excitement!
Select some examples of your success with similar scenarios from previous jobs to help illustrate that you are flexible, adaptable, and can work within tight deadlines.
What accomplishments show you’re adaptable?
5. Maintain Your Personal And Professional Development
A new employer wants to know that you are trainable. They want to know that you are eager to learn, and can be taught.
Showing that you have the drive and ability to teach yourself, and keep up-to-speed with the latest industry trends and buzzword skills, will mark you as exactly what they’re looking for!
It’s also a great way to stay mentally in shape if you are out of work for a spell.
Are you keeping up with the job Joneses?
6. Networking Is Not A 4 Letter Word
Whether you’re just starting out fresh-faced and bright-eyed, or you’ve been around the block a couple times, networking is the key to self-promotion when it comes to finding work.
More experienced workers have a distinct advantage here; after many years in the workforce, you should have inevitably built up a network of contacts in your industry, and across the workforce at large. Spark up conversations and see what your web can catch!
Younger workers can avoid coming across as unestablished by getting their name out there, and making their face known. Try social groups, social media, and tradeshows. Expos are also a great way to meet employers for any jobseeker!
What are you doing to expand your network?
7. Share Your Expertise
This is particularly important for older jobseekers.
After some time in any industry, you should have expert-level knowledge about how things work in the field. There’s no better way to establish yourself as an authority than to become a teacher or mentor!
Find local events looking for speakers to share their wisdom. Start your own blog and write out your big ideas. Try consulting work before jumping into a full-time gig.
Becoming a mentor is also a valuable way to keep yourself fresh and brush up on your basics. Like they say, sometimes the best way to learn is to teach!
What are you an expert in?
8. Turn What’s Got You Down Upside Down!
If you’re reading this, chances are you’re worried that your experience, whether limited or overabundant, is going to be a cause for concern for potential employers. The truth is, it’s all in the perspective.
Think you don’t have enough experience? That just means you’re not stuck in your ways, you’ve got an open mind, and appreciate the opportunity to learn. You’re eager to pick up new skills and motivated to make a splash!
Think you have “too much” experience? Wrong. You’re ready to be a leader, a mentor, a guru. You’ve done the research firsthand and you bring the complete package to the table.
What negatives could be positives?
From whichever side you approach the ageism problem, these professional approaches should help guide you towards showing recruiters that, when it comes to you, age is just a number!