How to Beat Age Discrimination in Your Job Search?
It can be quite a hurdle to leave your current workspace and try to move towards a newer future. This is especially so if you have come of a certain age, is it not? The frustration when you get the same stock answers,
- “You are too qualified for the position.”
- “Why don’t you look at the other option?”
- “The position is not suited for someone with as much experience as you have” can be great.
And it is almost like a vicious cycle; never-ending and long. A major study published in the Journal of Applied Social Psychology had an interesting finding. It talks about how difficult it can be to get through a job once you get older. The study found out that the oldest applicants had the least luck when landing a job, even worse off than the youngest ones.
However, you don’t have to fear. There are ways for you not to let your age become a problem for you when you are changing jobs. And we have a list of things that can help you overcome this barrier.
HOW TO BEAT AGE DISCRIMINATION IN YOUR SEARCH FOR A JOB?
You’ve had job seekers penning down how they continue to get turned down at their jobs, in spite of having stellar CV’s, all because of their age. The list of real-life examples age discrimination is an ever-growing one and does bring into question as for how you can avoid them.
To do that, understand that there are quite a few stages to the discrimination and the job search. In this article, we will talk of each of these stages separately to help guide you through the process better.
Stage 1: How to avoid age discrimination while applying to jobs and sending out your CVs and resumes?
While applying for a job, if you don’t want your employer to know you are 55 instead of 35, a couple of very simple tricks and techniques can help.
Do remember that the only reason for hiding your age in the resume is so that there is no discrimination in the minds of the employer that you are old fashioned and do not have the requisite ‘modern’ skills to help complete a job as it should be done. It, in the very least, allows the employer to give you a fair shot at interviewing for the job.
Add just one phone number:
Like you, the people who recruit you or the HR managers are almost always busy and on the move. They do not still have the time to sit down and craft a well thought out email as a response to your job application. Therefore, it is always better to have your phone number- preferably one- where the recruiters can call you and talk to you directly about your experiences and more.
Also, in the off chance, you are unable to pick up a call from a potential recruiter, and it ends up going to your voicemail, make sure that your voicemail has a professional greeting message. It creates a good impression in the minds of the recruiter. Both these things are quite simple but help a lot in the preliminary stage of getting recruited.
Add a ‘modern’ email ID:
If you are above a certain age, there are chances, however big or small, that you are using email IDs from older email accounts like Hotmail. Sometimes, even a Yahoo mail falls under this category. It just screams the term ‘backdated’ and kind of lowers the interest of the employer in your resume.
It is, therefore, in your best interest if you open an email account from a more modern email provider like Gmail. It helps your employer get the impression that you are more ‘in’ with the changing times. Tomorrow, if something better than Gmail turns up, it is good to have an ID on that server as well. Well, anything to get on with the times and into the good books of the recruiters.
Attach a link to your Linkedin profile:
LinkedIn in the business world is like Facebook in your social media world. It shows that you are modern and up to date with the changing world. It gives your potential recruiters a comprehensive idea about what your education qualifications are, and what type of experience you have working in the field.
It also gives them an idea about the kind of people you associate within the business world apart from providing the recruiters a good idea about what your soft skills and core competencies are.
However, it is also mandatory to make sure that your LinkedIn is up to date and has all the information and experiences of your professional life, especially of the last ten to fifteen years mentioned. Without that, the attachment would serve as a drawback rather than an advantage.
Also, we have specifically say ten-fifteen years here because most employers want to see the current work that the employees have done to understand their working capabilities.
A little something about yourself:
Your resume needs to reflect on how you are as a person as well. Nowadays, people want to know the kind of person you are in your personal life before they try and hire you. If you listen to the blues, it should make mention.
If playing badminton in your spare time is how you keep yourself fit, it should make mention. No one wants big and generic words in your resume which do not tell them anything about you. It is all about the personal touch these days.
In fact, if you are to ask most people, they’d say that personal interviews these days revolve more on the personal likes and dislikes of the candidates rather than their professional works. Most recruiters try to know of your personalities before they decide to hire you for their companies.
Write about your professional experience:
Of course, you know that this one is a must and there is a possibility that you feel that adding it as a point here is entirely redundant. However, it is not the case because this point might just help you is knowing what relevant information to give about the work that you have done primarily in the new century in your professional career.
What people are more interested in knowing is what you have done in the past ten to fifteen years rather than in your entire professional career.
This way, you have a distinct advantage of not getting discriminated against during the recruiting process. Also, try not to mention the year of your graduation as that is an obvious tell-tale regarding your age and might act as a drawback in a company looking to hire and train more younger talents.
Use white spaces to your advantage:
You should know that most resumes these days don’t end up getting printed to be read as a hard copy. That is because, in the age of digital technology, they are mostly blown up on the big screen and learn directly from there. Therefore, it is in your best interest that you make good use of the white space available to you and create a resume that looks good digitally.
Use bold colors and fonts to make your resume visually attractive. That way not only will you be in with the latest technology but also make your potential employers believe in your abilities and catch their eyes. And trust us, in today’s day and age, it is imperative to stand out from the herd and make your presentation eye-catching at the very least.
Now that the first stage is cleared and you have been given the green light to come for the personal interview, where they will be able to better asses your age difference, you are sure to have a few questions about how to proceed further. Fear not, this article discusses the second stage as well in the next part about how to avoid age discrimination in a personal interview.
Stage 2: How to avoid age discrimination in a face to face interview?
In this stage, where you know you have no control over hiding how old you are in real life, there are a few devices that you can choose to follow.
Have an open mind:
Do not go to an interview with already a multitude of preconceived notions. Do not keep thinking right from the onset that the recruiters are going to reject you based on your age itself. That will in no way, shape or form help you make a good impression on your employers.
Go in with an open mind and treat the interview like you would treat any other meeting had the age factor not been a barrier. Overthinking about your age and how that will affect your performance in the minds of your prospective employer will do only one thing: make you perform below standard and directly throw you out of the running.
Do not over think if you do not end up getting the job;
There are many reasons apart from your age about why you may not end up getting the job you had applied for. It might be that your skill sets do not suit the job requirements or that you are not what the HR managers think would be a good fit for the company and that has nothing to do with age and more with internal company policies and the way the company is looking to expand its prospects.
It might also be that the company could not choose you because of the remuneration that you are asking for in return for your services. It might also be the experience or the kind of personality that you have or even the fact that they might be looking to hire a woman when you are a man. The last part can be to add diversity and balance to the gender ratio in the office space as well.
Do not jump the gun here and start looking for a lawyer to file a complaint against age discrimination in the court just as of now. That bit will be discussed later once we are explicitly sure that the company has refused to take you based on your age alone. All sorts of things might be the reason why you are not chosen for a job no matter what your age is.
Have a look at your competition:
It is possible that your competitor might have some edge for which he or she is selected for the role instead of you. Do not always think of your age as a barrier and keep blaming yourself for the same. You do not have any idea why someone is hiring one person and not the other.
Focus on the things you can control and leave the things beyond your control out of your mind. If you see that your competitors have some skills that you are lacking, you can start learning those skills and honing them to come to par with them.
No age is too late to start learning a new skill, and that will only help show how focussed and dedicated you are when you have put your mind on to do something.
Stop thinking about your age all the time while you are sitting for an interview:
There is a possibility that your employer is not even considering your age as a factor while interviewing you and if you make your age a big deal while sitting for the interview, they might start looking at your age as a negative point about you.
While it is wrong to discriminate by age, it might be possible that you got or did not get the job because of reasons completely opposed to your age. Again, focus on what you can control and let go of the rest of the things.
If even after all these precautions, you end up feeling that you have some sort of tangible evidence that your potential employer has discriminated against you by your age, it is time to turn to the law for help.
When should you call an employment lawyer and how?
Assuming that you are a layman, there is a significant possibility that you are not aware of how to go about asking the law to help you in your quest to seek justice from your potential employers. Fear not, there is always Google to the rescue.
Make sure you google employment lawyers in your city and talk to them. They will be able to help you build up a case as per the law, and you can get your credit back in the market.
However, getting into a legal tangle without real proof is not very recommended as it might blacklist you from getting a job in other domains as well. This should be an absolute backup option when you are entirely sure of your standing and have run out of alternatives.
Try to control things that you can and leave the lest to your lawyers and the recruitment manager. That way things will work out better for you in general.
Additional Tips To Help You Not To Get Discriminated By Your Age When You Apply For A Job
Now for extra tips to avoid getting discriminated by jobs, because who does not like getting a few additional pointers, here and there? We have a list here that might just help you out a bit more in the quest for a new job.
Volume is the key to your job search.
As a man or a woman in the older side of the age spectrum, it must be difficult in getting a lot of job offers. However, the trick is to consistently apply for a lot of jobs because, in the end, there is a high possibility that most of your potential employers won’t judge you based on your age criteria. Instead, they will decide you by your experience.
Of course, some people might end up discriminating. But the changes of those happening will be much higher if you keep pinning all your hope on only a couple of jobs here and there that you might get rejected from. Use a high volume or quantity while applying for jobs to get a better shot at not being discriminated again and bettering your chances of getting hired overall.
Do Not Quit the Job Search Easily
Do not quit searching for a job easily even if you end up facing multiple rejections. We know that various denials take a massive hit to the ego, but it is always better to be rejected from places where you will at the end of the day not be a good match.
If the need arises, you can still take a quick break to rejuvenate yourself before beginning the job search in earnest all over again!
Like we have already mentioned before, look at the things you can control instead of the things you cannot. And this is the best example for that. You can control when you decide to give up and call yourself a failure. That power lies only with you and no one else.
Keep trying again and again, in spite of the rejections, and you will have soon made an impact in the mind of a recruiter who would believe that you are a great fit to their company.
Research well about the place you are going to apply.
We’ve already mentioned that LinkedIn is like the Facebook of the business world and therefore it is but a necessity to manage your LinkedIn account well. Your LinkedIn account tells a lot about your professional life and interests.
However, the LinkedIn account of the company you are applying for a job at also shows you a lot of stories. Is the company updated enough? What about the work environment? Do they have happy and satisfied employees? And it also answers one of the most critical questions in your mind at this stage of your job application process: “will my age be a barrier to my application process?”
Through LinkedIn, you will get a rough idea about the number of people that a particular company takes in every year, and whether or not they are interested in hiring someone in their 40’s and 50’s. This can be done by looking at their current crop of employees.
Apply to places that take in older people as well to have a better chance of getting employed. A place that only accepts people in their early twenties is less likely to hire you because of your age factor.
Look to Network More
There is no shame in using your contacts to secure yourself a job when you need it. It is the norm of the industry. Why else would you make connections at the right places throughout your professional career if not to leverage it as and when you require it?
If you enter a company with the help of a recommendation, it is possible that your employer would be more trusting in their disposition and will interview you without any doubts. Plus, there is a greater possibility of you getting hired by the company. The trick is not to over think but try out smart strategies.
It is only but fair that you keep yourself on good terms with your network of people as they are very likely to help you get to know potential employers. They will also be the first people to let you know if there is a vacancy at their workspace in a field that will suit your portfolio the most.
Networking is most certainly one of the best ways to get a job quickly and with certainty without the fear of getting discriminated against.
Are you still looking to get a job that you need? Check out this video that talks about how you can land a great job after 60.
Now that you have some of the insider tips and tricks, you know how to play it smart in your next interview. Believe in yourself and your capabilities – you never know what lies ahead.
It will help sell you in front of the potential employer who is interviewing you. If you are uncertain about your efforts, no one else is going to believe in you.
Also, always remember, that one good interview or even one good impression is what it takes to land you the job that you are looking for. So, keep trying. And in case things do go south, there is always an employment laywer to help you out.