Older Job Seekers, Do You Know the New Fundamentals?

Posted by on Apr 8, 2016 in Career | 0 comments

Older Job Seekers, Do You Know the New Fundamentals?

If you’re over 40, you may be worried about your prospects in the job market. You may think that the hiring manager will be more interested in someone younger – someone who is energetic and tech-savvy.

I hate to say it, but you have reason to be concerned. You might be surprised to learn that the way you’re presenting yourself could be deterring you from getting an interview – and your dream job. Take our quiz to see if you know how to present yourself and reduce the chances of age discrimination.

True or False?

1. Age matters when looking for a job.

True. However, the best way to combat ageism in the job search is to start changing how you see yourself. I believe that what we put out, we get back. Here’s what I hear regularly:

Client moans: “They’ll think I’m too old.”

Me: “When you receive resumes from people your age, do you think they’re too old to perform the job?”

Client: “Yes!”

Me: “Do you think you are “too old” to perform the job?”

Client, indignantly: “Of course not!”

There it is, in a nutshell. If you’re of a certain age, YOU AND YOUR PEERS are likely some of the worst in practicing ageism. You are walking around with conflicting beliefs and that’s not helping you one bit. Yes, offers may be harder to come by on the other side of 40, BUT you only need one employer to offer you a job, right? Okay then, so go show them what you can do.

2. It’s okay to use any email.

False. Ditch an AOL or Hotmail email address. Get yourself a Gmail address, if only for your job search, to indicate that you’re up to date. While you’re at it, learn all you can about the additional Google productivity tools – such as Google Docs, Google Drive, and Google Hangout.

Other suggestions for your email address:

  • Don’t use your birth year in the address
  • Don’t use a cutesy moniker, like the one your grandkids gave you or your college nickname. Keep it professional.

3. You should highlight your years of work experience.

False. Don’t emphasize the fact that you have 25 years of experience – to some resume reviewers that doesn’t mean that you’ll add value; it simply means you are old! You should clearly state how you can add value to your targeted employers. Here’s how to show you are current:

  • Deal with employers’ concerns up front .Share that you can be flexible, adaptable and able to work with and for younger people. Say something like, “It will be easy for me to be part of your team, because I know about/have experience in …” Talk about how you’ve collaborated/are collaborating with coworkers from a variety of ages and stages.
  • older job seekersProve that you are up to date and eager to learn. On your resume, show recent classes you have taken. List the technology you use, that is relevant to your field. If you are looking for a white-collar job and you aren’t already using social media, create professional profiles on LinkedIn and Twitter and use them regularly. However, ensure your personal Facebook privacy settings allow access by your friends only. If the job warrants it, include your ability to use social media on your resume. List your LinkedIn address with your contact info, at the top of your resume.
  • If you’re in a knowledge-based profession, creating your own blog, posting to it regularly, and sharing the URL on your resume is helpful. Your potential employers can see what you know, as well as your sensitivity to online marketing.
  • On your cover letters and resume, display your cell number with periods only. Parentheses are no longer used after area codes; neither are dashes in the phone number. Most young people don’t have a home number, so don’t include one. Street and mailing addresses are no longer needed on a resume, only your email and cell number. Also, two spaces are no longer used after a period – a remnant from the typewriter. So don’t show your age by adding extra space.

4. I may need to look younger to get a job.

True. What’s an employer’s first impression of you? Someone who hasn’t updated their work wardrobe in ten years? This applies to men and women. If you’re a woman and still wearing matchy-matchy suits, spring for a consultation with a personal image consultant or get a younger friend to help you break out of that rut. Better yet, explore the many options for appropriate business casual attire these days. Here are some more tips:

  • Is your hairstyle adding years? Get to a hairdresser who is knowledgeable about cuts that look age appropriate and youthful at the same time. I’m happy to share the name of a good one in the Winston-Salem area.
  • Do you still wear a standard wristwatch? That’s a sure sign that you’re over 40. You’ve probably noticed that the young’uns check time on their Apple Watch or cell phone.
  • Ditch the scuffed shoes and pantyhose. Both give away your age.
  • Being in good physical shape helps you look younger and appear healthy and energetic. Now may be a good time to improve your overall well-being.

So, how’d you do? Do you need to rethink some ways you’ve been presenting yourself? Just remember older job seekers, you have the confidence and experience to get the job and with this valuable advice you’re sure to make it happen.

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