How to Eliminate Age Discrimination From Your Job Search

Ageism is a very real challenge faced by 50-plus 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 the realities around ageism, tips for avoiding age discrimination in the hiring process, and a variety of solutions for overcoming ageism in 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. Instead adopt a mindset of self-worth. Focus on your personal and professional value and all of the wisdom you bring to the table. Don’t focus on thoughts of “everyone’s out to get me.”

Reverse your ageism anxiety, not your age

Whenever I receive ageism questions from my clients 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?

Start by shutting down ageism-focused social media alerts and changing your mindset

My first recommendation for changing your mindset? 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. Simply stop reading every gloom and doom ageism article that comes your way. This will do wonders in keeping your mindset positive in general. 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 combat ageism in the hiring process

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-plus job searchers that land jobs don’t spend all their time agonizing over the negative. Instead, 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-plus clients stop and take the time to think through these questions, they all come to the same answer: No.

Aim for cultural fit in your next employer

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 that come from age. 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.

How to use your age to your advantage

The majority of clients I support in the 50-plus age category, land their jobs through networking. Therefore you want to make this a priority. One of the benefits of growing up without a smartphone, is that you are far more socially aware than your younger competitors. You are able to to make conversation and connect with your contacts much more easily than millennials. Use that to your advantage. People hire people they like so show them your likable side. This will speak volumes in upping your 50-plus appeal! If it’s been a while since you networked, you will appreciate this blog post on how to overcome networking anxiety. 

Noelle Gross

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