Do you believe you are you being turned down for jobs because of your age? Age discrimination is often blamed after an unsuccessful application, but it’s almost always impossible to know if age really was a factor. Here are some of the common reasons given for not hiring a mature worker:
- Not up on the latest technology
- Doesn’t know current standards, best practices
- Out of touch with industry
- No recent demonstrated successes
- Doesn’t show willingness and ability to learn
- Over confident, arrogant, intimidating, “know it all”
- Strong opinions, always “right”
- Unlikely to stay long
- Difficult to work with
- Poor “fit” with company culture and work environment
Don’t dismiss these reasons as code for “old”. That thinking doesn’t help your job search. Instead, take time to plan how you are going to avoid creating these perceptions.
- Hone your interpersonal skills to make sure you come across as warm, likeable and humble
- Practice success stories that demonstrate your flexibility and ability to work with a variety of people
- Rework you resume to show how you are keeping up with technology and your industry including learning new things
- Prepare for the “overqualified” label by understanding the real reasons behind it and how to turn your qualifications into advantages
- Change your mindset so that you are not constantly fearing or suspecting age discrimination. This kind of negativity and paranoia comes out in interviews and can do great harm to your candidacy.
- Consider a mentor in your field who happens to be younger and ask him or her for honest feedback. Don’t be defensive. Be very open to suggestions and be proactive about making changes based on what you hear.
Do not jump to the conclusion that it’s age discrimination any time you do not get a job. You can’t change your age but you can change how you are perceived. Don’t waste valuable time worrying about how age is impacting your job search or set yourself up for failure by holding a negative mindset about your age.
Mature workers often say “I have so much to offer. If only I could get them to see that.” It’s true, you do have a lot to offer! Your mission is to get them to see that rather than a negative trait that isn’t really who you are. Prepare and practice how you will do that in every encounter.
More on job search for mature workers:
- Job search strategies for mature workers
- Interviewing with the young and inexperienced
- Are you coming across as old?