How To Avoid Age Bias In Your Job Search

Age Bias Doesn't Have to Be Your Reality

JEFF ALTMAN

2 months ago|5 min read

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By Jeff Altman

 

Age bias is real, but it doesn’t have to be your reality. In today’s job market, it’s common for older workers to feel like their age is a major roadblock to finding new opportunities. Many older job seekers are afraid that potential employers will see their age as a negative rather than a positive asset. However, it’s important not to let that fear hinder your search. If you want to avoid age bias in your job search and continue battling the interview process with confidence, follow these tips:

Stay positive

It’s true that there has been an increase in age discrimination in recent years. However, age bias is not something you have any control over, so it’s important to stay positive regardless. If a recruiter or hiring manager senses you’re ashamed of your age, they may be more likely to use your age as an excuse to turn you down. Stay positive, stay confident, and stay focused on what you can offer an employer, not just what an employer can offer you.

Don’t be ashamed of your age

When you’re job searching, it’s easy to get caught up in the negativity surrounding ageism. However, it’s important to remember that age has nothing to do with skills, abilities, or productivity. Age discrimination occurs when a potential employer makes an assumption about your abilities based on your age, not your experience. That’s why it’s so important to avoid letting your age be your focal point during your job search. You want employers to fall in love with your skills, not your age.

Stay current and relevant

One major misconception about older workers is that they’re not relevant in today’s job market. However, many older workers are extremely current on the latest trends and changes in their industries. They’ve had years to hone their skills and become masters. If you are currently employed, make sure to stay current on industry changes and stay abreast of any new or updated technologies in your field. Also, consider taking classes or workshops to stay up to date on trends and technologies. If you are not currently working, consider taking classes or workshops to develop new skills that may be useful in your field. Demonstrating that you’re current and relevant will help to overcome any misconceptions your potential employers may have about your age.

Network

After you’ve completed your resume and cover letter, the next step too many job seekers overlook is networking. It’s important to get out to meet new people and start building connections in your industry. This is an excellent way to demonstrate your current knowledge and build a support system of people who can help you find a job. Make an effort to meet other people in your industry, especially people who are in positions of power. Make it a goal to attend industry events and conferences, and introduce yourself to new people. You never know who could help you find your next job, so it’s important to make networking a priority in your job search.

Focus on your experience and skills

When you’re going through the interview process, it’s important to focus on showcasing your experience and skills and on explaining why you’re the right person for the job rather than proving that you’re not too old for it. It’s also important to make sure your resume is tailored to each new job you apply to. Although your skills may be perfect for one position, they may not be as relevant or impressive to an employer if they aren’t emphasized in your resume. When job searching, it’s important to tailor your resume to each position to maximize your chances of getting an interview. Without an interview, you are rarely going to be hired.

Utilize resources for older job seekers

There are many resources for older job hunters. AARP operates a job board with almost 1 million searchable positions plus information about career paths and job-search advice. CareerOneStop has information for workers who are over 55 and many others that will help you land your next job. My website, TheBigGameHunter.us, has thousands of searchable posts about job search in the blog, plus information about courses, books, and guides to help you land with your next firm sooner. If you’re worried about being turned down because of your age, these tools can help you avoid age bias and continue your job search with confidence.

If you are an employer

The World Economic Forum projects that the number of workers 65 and older is projected to increase to 2 in 5 by 2050 from 1 in 4 in 2019. Age discrimination remains an accepted form of discrimination, particularly among those who stand in opposition to other forms of bias. Since it takes time to impact a culture, it is important to begin now to change the climate to one of greater acceptance of older professionals.

“Acquiring new skills or sharing skills with others are enriching experiences. Yet, it seems that for older adults, this is still more often a challenge than a springboard for a new career or a new role in the workplace. Employers and co-workers thereby lose out on an enormous asset that older workers can bring with their professional and life experience,” says Dubravka Šuica, Vice President for Democracy and Demography at the European Commission.

The Bottom line

Ageism exists, but it’s not something you, as an individual, have any control over. You can’t let its presence hinder your ability to find new opportunities. It’s important to stay positive, not be ashamed of your age, stay current, network, focus on your experience and skills, and utilize resources for older job seekers. Doing so will help you overcome any misconceptions potential employers may have about your age, allow you to find your next great opportunity, and deliver world-class results. For employers, your efforts to foster inclusivity must be extended to older workers, too.

 

ABOUT JEFF ALTMAN, THE BIG GAME HUNTER

Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter is a career and leadership coach who worked as a recruiter for more than 40 years. He is the host of “No BS Job Search Advice Radio,” the #1 podcast in iTunes for job search with more than 2300 episodes. He also hosts Job Search TV on YouTube, and Amazon, as well as on BingeNetworks.tv for Apple TV and 90+ smart sets.

I do a livestream on LinkedIn, YouTube (on the JobSearchTV.com account) and on Facebook (on the Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter page) Tuesdays and Fridays at 1 PM Eastern. You can send your questions about job search, hiring better, management, leadership or to get advice about a workplace issue to me through LinkedIn's messaging .You can also message me through chat during the approximately 30 minute show.

Are you interested in 1:1 coaching? Please click here to see my schedule to book a free discovery call or schedule time for coaching.

Connect with me on LinkedIn. Like me on Facebook.

We grant permission for this post and others to be used on your website as long as a backlink is included and notice is provided that it is provided by Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter as an author or creator plus a backlink to www.TheBigGameHunter.us.

 

 

 

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JEFF ALTMAN

Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter, (he/him/his), has helped companies hire talent and people find work. More than 40 years of recruiting experience assisting individuals to improve their career as an executive recruiter. Now, a career coach, leadership coach, and executive coach. I coach over Zoom... read more

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