WORK/LIFE

AGEISM...

Hit It With Your Best Shot!

Reported by MUSE.COM

 

Age discrimination, though illegal, is a fact of life. But, by understanding the reasons behind it, you can proactively address the typical concerns employers may have.

 

1. You'll Want a Huge Salary

Recruiters and hiring managers may have concerns that experienced (a.k.a., older) candidates will be overqualified and require a higher salary than they can offer.

 

Career Changers

 

Fortunately for you, when seeking a career change into a new industry or position, recruiters expect you'll be open to taking a lower salary. 

2. You Won't Understand Technology

Some hiring managers may worry that older job seekers are technophobes. Clearly as you're reading articles on (Alumni.com) The Muse, this isn't an issue for you!

(But you can alleviate this concern by including your LinkedIn profile on your resume and any technology or specific software skills you have.)

3. You Won't Be a "Culture Fit"

Unfortunately, some companies simply have biases against hiring older workers. Experienced job hunters may have better luck applying at smaller companies and nonprofits who operate with streamlined staff, and who'll view your experience as an invaluable asset.


How Can You Counteract These Three Things?

Network 

As an older candidate, you've probably developed an extensive network. You may not feel you have connections in the industry you want to move into, however, most likely someone you know does.

 

So get your foot in the door (and around the above concerns) by making some direct connections in the field you're interested in.

Address Any Skill Gaps

Look at the industry or role you want to move into and identify any skills or qualifications you're missing.

Want to pursue education? Look into teaching certificates. Want to dive into marketing? Take a course.

Having a recent skill or qualification on your application not only clearly demonstrates your fit for the role you're applying to, but it also shows your ability to adapt and learn—something hiring managers sometimes question about older applicants.

Think Out of the Box

Depending on your skill set and income needs you could stop looking for a new job and explore other options, including starting your own businesses, consulting, or picking up freelance work.

 

There appears to be less bias when hiring for consulting or freelance work and many older candidates have been able to translate their considerable experience into these less traditional opportunities.

Remember, at its core, your age and experience are an asset.

Put yourself in a hiring manager's shoes and understand the reasons, conscious or subconscious, they may pass over an older candidate.

 

This perspective will help you apply and interview like a rock star so you can spend your "golden years" working on interesting projects, and not watching daytime TV.

By Lydia D. Bowers
 

Lydia D. Bowers is the founder of Dear People Ops, a contributing author at The Muse, and a Human Resources master's student at Cornell University's School of Industrial and Labor Relations.

 

She believes improving the world of work improves the world at large.

She develops customized people operations strategies for companies to make them a place where people want to work, not have to work and coach individuals on the tools they need to advocate for themselves and their career goals. Learn more on her personal website