As an older worker, you face unique challenges when searching for a job. Ageism in the workplace is an issue. Many older workers are unfairly getting pushed out of the market simply because of their age. There are companies that knowingly and unknowingly discriminate based on age.
But there are things you can do to prove your relevance and improve your candidacy for a job. It starts by shifting the focus from questions about your age to how you can help the organization. Here are some things you can do, as an older job seeker, to improve your chances of landing a new job:
update your skills
You need an updated and relevant skill set, regardless of your age. All job seekers need to have the most in-demand skills for the job they want to have a chance of winning the job. Compare the skills you have and the skills that are desired by hiring companies. If there is a gap, put some work into acquiring these skills.
refocus your resume
How you market yourself on your resume is important. Shift your resume to focus on your experience and the unique perspective you can bring to an organization. Focus on your accomplishments. Quantify them with statistics if possible. Don’t list everything you have done in your career. Focus on the last 10 to 15 years. Highlight the relevant skills and experience that are related to the job you want.
leverage your experience and knowledge
One of the biggest advantages you have as an older worker is your experience and knowledge. You’ve been there and done it before. You have unique insights based on your wisdom from working in the industry for years. Use this to communicate how you can help a hiring manager achieve their objectives. Explain what you can do in the role that less experienced candidates cannot.
stay up to date with technology
Tech skills are not just nice to have anymore, they are essential. You need them. Unfortunately, there is an assumption that older workers tend to lack technology skills. You can remove this stigma by being active online. Have a presence on the important social media channels in your industry. Have a strong and thorough LinkedIn profile. Gain experience using the software programs and applications needed to do the job you want. Given the new importance of working remotely, make sure you can use video conferencing programs.
expect to deal with the subject head on
Expect to address the elephant in the room. You can expect to deal with the subject of age at some point in your interview. You may even have to answer questions around having increased salary expectations because of your age and experience. Do your best to shift the conversation. If the interviewer is persistent and continues to ask questions related to your age, it may be a red flag.
stay active in your field
Having a presence in your field is important, especially as you get older. The more people you have in your professional network, the better. You’ll have more references, and more people will know what you can accomplish. Attend conferences, take part in webinars, and take courses to continue to add more to your toolbox.
focus on finding the right type of organization
Not every company is open to hiring a mature job seeker. Look for companies that embrace diversity. Obviously, you want to work for a company that embraces your expertise and experience. It may take a little time, but focus on finding a company that is a great fit for you.
Ageism is an issue in the workplace. As an older job seeker, it’s not your age that is the biggest issue, it’s your relevance. Make sure your skills meet the demands of today’s work environment. Speak with our expert recruiters to find available jobs in your area.