Ageism is a very real challenge faced by 50+ job searchers everywhere. While age discrimination may add a layer of complexity to the job search, it is not impossible to overcome. In this blog post we will share tips for avoiding age discrimination in your resume, and a variety of solutions for overcoming ageism in your job search.
Ageism fact or fiction? What I experienced as an executive recruiter
How buying into ageism can sabotage your job search
Regardless of your experience with ageism, my advice is simple: don’t use ageism as a crutch in your job search. Far too often I see senior job searchers use ageism as THE number one excuse for why they aren’t landing jobs. Sure it may be ONE reason for your job search woes, but it’s also possible that you are not a fit for the role in question. In fact your age may have zero to do with why you weren’t hired. To automatically gravitate towards ageism can be quite toxic. Instead of shifting to this mindset, and adjusting their job search strategies, many senior job searchers spend valuable time worrying about potential ageism challenges. Some senior job searchers even give up because “what’s the point if my age will be an issue on every application?” This is a very dangerous mindset to adopt. If this is your mindset, your job search is doomed.
Turn your ageism anxiety into a healthier focus
Whenever I am peppered with ageism questions by my workshop attendees, I remind them: You can’t change your age but you can change your focus. I tend to take a very practical approach when coaching my clients and this is as practical as it gets. You can’t change your age. And even if you could, would you want to? You have great life and professional experience. So why let the ageism monsters torture you?
My recommendation? Turn off your ageism content alerts. Ever notice how we fixate on the topics that show up on our news feeds? Content marketers know you are looking at the gloom and doom ageism articles. Therefore they know you will read the ageism content that is sent your way. So simply stop reading every gloom and doom ageism article that comes your way. This will do wonders in keeping your mindset positive. Use this newly gained positive mindset to take valuable action in your job search. Learn how to achieve fit in your resume and fix the ageism red flags. Invest in a professionally written resume so that your resume accomplishments really shine. I guarantee this will do more for your job search than fixating on the ageism-focused media.
How to take ownership in an ageist workplace
How can you compete with a 20-something in an ageist workplace? Simple: create a job search strategy that doesn’t include age-discriminating employers. It’s all about finding cultural fit. The 50+ job searchers that land jobs don’t spend all their time agonizing over negative. They focus on building a career with employers who embrace the valuable experience that comes with age. Will you experience ageism if you apply to a company where the average age is 25? More than likely. But do you really want to work in a company that values youth over your well-earned experience? Probably not. Even if you were able to get into this company, would you really feel happy? Challenged? Culturally accepted? When my 50+ clients stop and take the time to think through these questions, they all come to the same answer: No. This is why you want to focus on finding companies that are a cultural fit. The cultural fit you are aiming for? Companies that value wisdom and experience. Once you start to apply to these companies, you may even see this idea of ageism start to disappear completely from your world. You may even start to regain some much-needed hope for your job search.
The best way to find companies that will respect you for your experience
“Thank you so much for the webinar Noelle! It was really insightful. I’m just so tired of companies offering to do resume writing by e-mail. It’s so nice to meet real people who really want to assist job-seekers.” – Ronald, Executive Job Searcher
Try these resume tweaks for avoiding ageism
That said, there will be times where your resume is required. Use these hacks to increase your chances of avoiding ageism:
Should you include your entire work history?
You should only go back 10 to 15 years in terms of your work experience. That’s all you need. Anything beyond that will look excessive and stale. It may also contribute to making you look old. Employers want to know what you can do for them TODAY based on what you have done RECENTLY. So your best bet is to keep it fresh by eliminating older information.
Should you omit your graduation date?
Header hacks that will help you appear more current
- First, I recommend updating your email provider so that you are not using outdated email services. This may seem like a very small thing but we’ve all been there. We get emails from folks using AOL, Earthlink, or other more obscure providers and we think of email pioneers and slow dial up internet connections. It’s a small thing, I realize, but it’s an age identifier nonetheless. You need to create the perception that you are up with the times so email addresses count. I recommend setting up a Gmail account and using that for career-related communications. Think of it as your “business” email if that helps prevent you from feeling overwhelmed by a full email migration.
- The same goes for LinkedIn.You need to have an optimized LinkedIn profile and a LinkedIn Vanity URL in your resume header. Just by having your LinkedIn vanity URL in your resume header, you will be perceived as a professional who is tech savvy. You can’t afford to not be on LinkedIn in general. By simply letting your reader know this in you header, you are sending a subtle message that will work in your favor.
What if your advanced degree is 20+ years old and/or not related to your target field?
Should you include relevant experience from 20 years ago?
Should you include relevant technical skills?
Perception is Reality When it Comes to Your Resume
If you’re interested in accessing more of Noelle’s practical job search resources to create a proactive, effective job search, check out the Job Search Accelerator. In this budget-friendly job landing program you’ll have access to all of Noelle’s expert resources including optimized resume / cover letter templates, networking scripts and templates, LinkedIn optimization courses, interview answer scripts and more – everything you need to feel confident, navigate the job search successfully, and put your best foot forward as an applicant.