Ageism is an issue in many areas of life, including when searching for a job. You can be removed from contention if you are thought to be too old or too young for a job without getting a fair chance to prove yourself as a candidate.
Even once you get a job, have success, and gain notoriety for your contribution to an organization, you are not free and clear. We all experienced a very public case of ageism firsthand earlier in the year when Lisa LaFlamme was unceremoniously removed from her role as chief anchor and senior editor of CTV National News.
It’s clear that ageism continues to be an issue at all levels – entry level all the way up to the executive level. But it’s how you handle the issue that can help you overcome it.
We asked our recruiters who specialize in executive search in Toronto for some advice on how to combat ageism in your job search. Here’s what they had to say.
Modernize your resume
It’s important for all people, not just mature job seekers, to maintain a modern resume that follows the current trends and preferences of employers. This ensures your resume doesn’t stand out for the wrong reasons.
You can do some other things to take the emphasis off your age:
- Only list the most relevant and recent experience. You don’t need to include jobs you’ve had over 20 years ago (unless they are directly relevant to the role.)
- Ensure your resume doesn’t exceed 2 pages
- Use a font and style that is consistent with the norm today
- Remove dates from your education. Place it at the bottom of your resume. Highlight experience first.
Do the same with your LinkedIn profile as well. Use an updated photo and focus on your most recent work experience. Express your desire to make a career move.
Apply to companies that value experience
There are many organizations that are dedicated to inclusivity and diversity. This includes job seekers of all ages. When considering applying for a company, take a look at its core values and get a sense of its company culture. Look for companies that actively promote diversity and value experienced professionals.
Use your network to identify opportunities
As a mature professional, you have a bigger and more diverse network than your younger counterparts. So, use it! Leverage your professional network and let people know when you are looking to make a career move. When you have a person internally who is willing to put in a good word, it can help you secure a job interview and shift focus away from ageism concerns.
Keep up with technology
You knew this would be on the list. There is an unfair assumption that older professionals do not have the tech skills to keep up with modern business. The reality is it’s not just older people who need to keep up with emerging technology, it’s all workers. So, put the effort into knowing the programs and tech skills you’ll need to be a strong candidate in your industry. If you do the above, you can help deflect the focus on your age, and focus it where it should be – how your skills and experience can help a prospective employer.
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