If you’re over 50 and looking for a job, what are some strategies you can use to overcome ageism?
1. They are concerned that you aren’t up for the job or have the stamina.
The best advice here is to get physically fit. You radiate energy, a positive attitude, and enthusiasm when you’re fit. People consciously or unconsciously desire to be around you. Sure, if Botox or changing your hair colour makes you feel more confident, go for it. But when you are in shape and eat healthily, it goes a long way to show you have what it takes to handle a new job. You don’t have to run a super-fast mile or bench press your weight, but a regular fitness regime can work magic, be it walking or swimming a couple of times a week.
2. They worry that you aren’t familiar with the technology.
You might be out of step, but you just can’t afford to be a Luddite – idle and resisting where technology is taking the world. Consider signing up for classes, whether it’s a community college, workshops at local libraries, or asking your nieces, nephews, grandkids. Acquire any computer-oriented certifications needed for the job you’re applying for. Having an up-to-date LinkedIn profile and an active Facebook and Twitter account would also help since it proves you’re comfortable with social media.
The employer will check you out online immediately. They need to know all about your social media footprint. This is non-negotiable these days. Network with everyone you know. Employers choose people they know or people whom their partners and friends know. You can benefit from all sorts of connections you’ll find online via Facebook and LinkedIn. Attend your alumni gatherings and industry group functions. Do not sit around and wait for the phone to ring. Sending out your online resume is a great and worthy step, but finding a job when you’re over 50 requires more than that.
3. They assume you’re set in your ways and won’t be enthusiastic to try new ways of doing things.
4. They’re concerned you might not play nicely with younger workers.
5. They assume you want too much money and would be offended by a lower salary than you had in your last job.
These are all problems you can discuss in your interview and explain why you think they might not be relevant. There’s no fixed solution to the last three worries as they differ from one person to another. It’s wise to develop your own authentic way to address these fears. It is hard out there, but there are ways you can stand above it. It takes stamina and determination, and you can do it.
Check out smaller companies and nonprofits that tend to appreciate the experience and skills that come with age. They might prefer a grown-up in the workplace. A fresh college graduate can’t step in and do the job that an older worker typically can. Employers would love the loyalty and calmness you’ll bring to the workplace. They also know the advantages of the extensive network a more senior worker can get to the job. There is naturally not as much ramping up necessary.