Have you been in a situation where you have been discriminated against due to your age? Although ageism is often seen as a workplace issue, you may face it when you’re out shopping, at the doctor’s office, or even when ordering products and services over the phone. Older people may experience:
• Losing a job or not being hired for a job.
• Being refused interest-free credit, a new credit card, car insurance or travel insurance.
• Receiving a lower quality of service in a shop or restaurant because of the organization’s attitude to older people.
• Being ineligible for your country's benefits such as "disability living allowance."
• Being refused a referral from a doctor to a consultant.
• Being refused membership to a club or trade association.
• Having little support or encouragement to learn new skills or apply sophisticated technology.
• Having physical limitations which could hinder productivity.
• Getting little recognition for life and work experiences you could bring to the organization.
You are protected against some of these situations by law, but not all. For example, many countries now have legislation such as the Equality Act and the Age Discrimination in Employment Act that forbid discrimination of employment, education, training and benefits for older workers based on age. However, there are numerous cases which demonstrate older workers are treated unfairly.
Many of us, base first impressions on appearance. We may surmise, “He didn’t look like he was up to the job.”
Should appearance matter? In a perfect world, no. But what job candidate wouldn’t want to present a confident, energetic image to prospective employers who are often under the age of 35.
What can an older job seeker do to compete with younger applicants?
1. Present a well groomed, professional appearance. Follow contemporary styles in fashion, shoes and hair. Convey vigor and ambition to do the job.
Take a note pad, copies of your updated resume targeted to the job, and list of questions and references. Confidently offer ways by which you can contribute to the company.
Be genuine; smile when appropriate. Listen carefully and answer all questions directly. If you're unsure, ask for clarification before responding.
2. Investigate desired jobs, industries and companies. Peruse business directories like Dun and Bradstreet’s Million Dollar Directory, and online industry and company web sites. Explore online and print media to keep updated on the changing business scene.
3. Identify employers who will value your expertise. Include startups and non-profits. Many employers seek older workers. Financial services firms, for example, who have an older client base often prefer older employees. Other companies want to employ people who can produce on day one.
4. Network. Harness the power of your personal, community, and business associates, both on and offline. Follow blogs, join relevant Linkedin groups and participate in discussions. Identify local networking groups in your field or start one that doesn't exist. Identify colleagues who could refer you for a position.
5. Create a functional resume to highlight recent accomplishments. Focus on work and volunteer experiences that demonstrate you have skills, accomplishments and technical expertise required for your job target. Include certifications and software training. Use key words employers employ when seeking employees.
6. Prepare for interviews. Research the organization and job. Call contacts to get an insider's perspective. Outline questions to ask and review those that may be asked of you.
Identify your top five selling points, and practice delivery. Know the correct names and titles of all interviewers. Program your mind for success. Visualize yourself performing well.
Close the interview by emphasizing your key skills and why you should be hired.
Before accepting any position, get all the facts. Note your gut reactions to the people and work environment. Get the offer confirmed in writing.
If you don't get the position, ask for feedback on your qualifications and interview performance. Don't take rejection personally. Review job search strategies mature Questers employ in Questers Dare to Change Your Job and Life: http://www.amazon.com/Questers-Dare-Change-Your-Life/dp/