Young job candidates worry they might not be taken as seriously as an older applicant with a résumé rich in leadership skills and management experience. Conversely, older job applicants fret about being perceived as a “dinosaur” with outdated ideas and feeling technologically behind the times.
Given the reality that age bias does exist, older job seekers should consider these tactics to improve their prospects in the career search and hiring process.
- Continue strengthening your network with new connections.
- Nurture your current personal and professional relationships.
- Make a point of checking in regularly with your connections. It could pay huge dividends if you unexpectedly find yourself in the job hunt.
[Related: 8 Strategies to Master Networking Post-Military]
- Eliminate graduation and certification dates unless they're very recent.
- Limit your professional experience to the past 10 years, with a last entry something like: “2009 and Prior - various management positions of increasing responsibility and authority.”
- Avoid mentioning companies whose names might have disappeared from the business landscape.
- Focus on specific accomplishments and skills -- especially technology and self-reliance skills to counter the notion that older workers are less adaptable.
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- Demonstrate your energy level -- be upbeat, positive, and enthusiastic.
- Ensure your professional wardrobe is well-tailored, stylish, and age-appropriate.
- Polish your interpersonal skills to connect across multiple generations; ensure you treat everyone with courtesy and respect.
- Defer any conversations about a better work-life balance or phased retirement until after you have been hired and established your reputation with the employer.
During your career journey, you might encounter challenges as it pertains to age and career opportunities. Be prepared to make those positive first impressions, whether they are in your written communications, social media channels, networking opportunities, or the formal interview process. And always remember just be your natural self.