Q: I am in my 60s and looking for a job. I feel like age discrimination is working against me. What words of advice do you have for a 60s something job seeker?
A: Age discrimination exists for sure. Every day people make judgments about fellow humans. We make judgments based on age, race, color, gender and other factors. Some factors are not even legally protected factors. Think about how we all make judgments about others based on where someone went to school, their hometown, what they drive, how they dress or even sometimes their name.
My best advice is to take the focus off your age and instead try to shift it to your experience and potential value to a company. Before you interview, what can you do?
1. Make sure that your resume is crisp, clean and easy to read. It may be only necessary to summarize the last 15 years or so of your experience. Many employers will be looking for you on LinkedIn too. Make sure that your LinkedIn profile is accurate and your head shot is professional. Some employers expect a Twitter handle.
2. Dress the part. Spend some time on the company’s website. Are they business casual? Or are they suits? Don’t wear something from many years ago. Wear something which you have purchased in the last year or so.
3. Connect with folks who you know your value. The reason is that they don’t necessarily see a number. They see what you can bring to the table in terms of experience.
4. Are your skills up to date? As an example, if you are a recruiter and you are not very familiar with LinkedIn, then I am concerned.
5. What are the stereotypes that many have about workers in their 60s? Rigid? Slow? Low energy? Then, counter those stereotypes. During your interview, demonstrate enthusiasm, energy and flexibility.
6. Use available resources like Operation A.B.L.E. (ability based on long experience). Their website is www.operationable.net.
Finally, be sure you are open to feedback, whether positive or negative.
by Pattie Hunt Sinacole, First Beacon Group LLC
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