Tips to Avoid Ageism during your Job Search
When confronted with a career change or some other shift in the professional sphere, age can seem like the stickiest of obstacles. But never fear! There are plenty of reasons why your age makes you the best choice for a position. We’re going to show you how to disprove the naysayers! Check out some of our top strategies to help you avoid ageism during your next job search.
Keep Your Knowledge Current
Imagine an employer has narrowed their search down to just two resumes. One candidate has over ten years of experience but hasn’t even heard of the technology that is currently being used in this field. The other candidate only has five years of experience but has been able to demonstrate measurable results in this short time using the very same technology along with a willingness to adapt to changes in the environment. What's more important to the employer? Well, it depends on the industry, but generally, the most useful candidate is the one who is most able or willing to keep a finger on the pulse of the changes in the industry.
You might have the experience and qualifications for the role, but if you don’t display an ability to keep abreast of current trends, then recruiters may think that you’re stuck in a rut or clinging to the old ways. Fortunately, this is an easy fix for those with the time to keep on learning. Through ongoing research or training, especially in technology, you will be able to show those hiring managers that you can adapt and provide them with both current knowledge and experience.
Update Your CV
The experience you have accumulated over the years is impressive. Unfortunately, if your CV still lists experience from back in 1980, you are holding yourself in the past. Consider the fact that your CV will likely end up on the desk of a recruiter who is younger than you. While many hiring managers can move past the initial biases that come with this age dynamic, there is still a chance that this particular recruiter will harbour the common fear that older candidates will not work well under younger bosses and therefore may not shortlist your application.
By keeping your resume as current as possible, this might only become a concern once you're in the office for the interview, which is great, because this is precisely when you will show them they have nothing to worry about! A rule of thumb is to keep your employment history to the past 10 years at most. Of course, there will be exceptions. For example, if you are moving back into a field you worked in more than 10 years ago or if you have a significant accomplishment within the industry outside of this time frame. For the most part, keep it fresh. You can always summarise other experience that is further back without attaching a date.
Be Prepared To Talk About Your Age During The Interview
In case you didn’t know - age discrimination is illegal in New Zealand. Although interviewers aren’t allowed to ask about your age directly, they can dance around the question with remarks about how long you plan to keep working. When companies spend money on bringing a new employee into the fold, they want to believe that this person might work for them forever - even if, objectively, they know that isn’t going to happen, regardless of how old the candidate is. The best answer to these sorts of questions is something like, ‘I enjoy working and am still learning. I intend to stay in the workforce as long as I can.’
Anyone who tells you that searching for work as a mature worker is a walk in the park is fibbing to you but it doesn’t have to be a horrible experience either. You have so much to offer so get out there and show them what you've got!