Many older job seekers give all of their job landing power freely to the Ageism Demon. They blame the Ageism Demon for:
— Why they can’t land a decent paying job.
— The perception that their life isn’t where they thought it should be after all these years of hard work and loyalty.
— Why they don’t have fulfilling meaningful work and feel valued in their professional life.
Blaming the Ageism Demon is powerfully alive and flourishing in the minds of many older job seekers. But c’mon…are you kidding me? We are byproducts of the Great Generation. Our parents didn’t raise us to blame institutions, ideas, and people for our lot in life. No, they raised us to fight.
Don’t get me wrong…there are jerks in the hiring world who will not make a hire strictly because the potential employee is older. It happens. And it’s wrong. I am here to tell you that you can’t fix jerky people. But you can fix you.
So consider this … Do you think your actions and behaviors are contributing to your ageism problem?
Ask yourself the following questions:
—Are you able to interview confidently on video, Skype or by phone? Or do you insist on an in-person interview?
—Have you kept your skills current?
—Is your body language subliminally telling a hiring manager that you have great disdain for them, simply because they are younger than you?
—Does your interview attitude leave a hiring manager thinking “You’re Hired” or “You Should Retire?”
If any of these questions touched a nerve, you know, made you feel like a dud firework that petered out fast after being lit, then you are probably doing something that is contributing to the perception of you being outdated. And being outdated is not ageism. It’s being outdated.
By definition ageism is discrimination against persons of a certain age group. This is illegal. No question about it. When an appropriately skilled candidate (not overqualified) with a current presentation, who happens to be over 40 years old, is consistently declined over younger equally skilled candidates then that is a sign of ageism.
By accepting that you cannot control ageism and focusing on changing how others perceive you by not having an antiquated skill set, outdated online/physical presentation or ill-prepared, overqualified question interview prep, you strengthen your position as a candidate. By focusing on what you can control, you are empowering yourself to win.
Here is the bad news: you cannot fix your age.
Here is the good news: you can fix outdated behavior. And it’s important to really access why you might not have been hired that has nothing to do with ageism.
—Maybe you were rejected because you came across all-knowing, lecturing and “been-there-done-that-and-I’ll-show-you-how-to-do-it-too.” (Many people love to be around THIS type of person, right? Wink-wink.)
—Maybe you weren’t hired because someone else had stronger skills than you did despite how long you have been doing it?
—Maybe because your resume reads more like an obituary bio and less like an achievement-based document. (And you know how fun it could be to hang around dead people!)
So try this…change your marketing and job search tactics so your resume and LinkedIn profile look ageless and clock full of merits.
Lead with your record of achievement, not your seniority, to land the coveted interview and end up with that plumb salary and beefed-up benefits.
Shine as the person to hire during an interview using storytelling tactics that keep hiring managers enthralled when chatting with you—making your competitors seem lackluster in comparison.
These tips should help you when you are up against that ageism demon. Now go out there and conquer.