How to Deal with Ageism in Your Job Search

First thing is – ageism exists. Accept it. No one will admit it…least of all hiring managers. Or even some job coaches. But the fact exists. Once you reach a certain age you are viewed differently, and often, less attractively, in the job market.

So, what do you do about it?

We’ve been told time and again, organizations love to hire more mature workers. What are the advantages that come with age? – experience, judgment, calm confidence, maturity, and responsibility. At the same time, companies want to hire employees at the lowest possible salary with the highest level of skill and knowledge.

Here are five ways to overcoming the disadvantages:

Learn new technology – Whether it is the latest version of Microsoft office suite, database, CRM or LMS (see, if you don’t even know what those letters stand for, you need to learn) CRM=Customer Relationship Management, LMS=Learning Management System.

Keep up with new things in your field – If you are not already a member of your professional association, join one and become active. You can keep up through your professional association, online forums, free webinars, as well as paid events, panels, workshops, seminars, and conferences.

Re-focus your job search – Try looking for jobs in non-profits – they tend to be less ageist. Non-profits include associations, foundations, colleges and universities, charitable organizations, public or government work. Try looking for part-time or temporary or interim positions.

Think about consulting – If you have been working for 20 years or more, you probably have become an expert in something. You can certainly use your contacts at all your current and former employers to build a consulting practice in your field.

Try something new – If you have the energy and motivation, start all over again – go back to school, get an internship, learn a totally new skill. Some people I know completed a master’s degree to change from print production to recreational therapy, from marketing to landscape design, from mental health counseling to physician’s assistant. Do you have a hobby that could be turned into a source of income? Some examples might include woodworking, pottery, photography, tutoring, or dog walking.

Above all, stay upbeat and full of energy. Your level of energy is key during the interview process.

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