If you’re over 50 and job-hunting, and it’s been several years since you’ve been in a job search, you may be in for a rude awakening.
All of a sudden, job interviews may be much harder to land.
When you do get interviews, you may sense a resistant attitude from the interviewers that you never experienced before.
It may be clear, and terribly discomforting . . . you’re facing age discrimination.
In a Forbes article, Kerry Hannon interviewed John Tarnoff, both career coaches, and asked him “What do you tell people about not being able to get job interviews after 50?“
“My advice is to admit that it’s ageism. Be fantastic. Engage, ask questions, be of service, be a problem-solver, be a part of a solution. Let yourself roll right over the ageism.
You also need to be strategic. Assess your skills, interests and opportunities. Do an analysis of your strengths and weaknesses. Reach out to close friends, family and colleagues to solicit their views and constructive feedback.
Understand that you’re not going to be able to fight this on your own, but through your network. You need to network to find the people who get you. Those people will bring in more people who will get you…that’s how you are going to get results.”
How can you keep age discrimination from jeopardizing your career goals?
Accept that ageism will follow you, or precede you, throughout the networking, interviewing and hiring process.
But take heart. There are many things you can do to overcome this challenge, and position yourself to land a great-fit gig.
Along with relying heavily on networking your way into your target companies, you’ll need to dispel the concern that you’re out of date with the digital age.
As much as possible, keep pace with your younger competitors who are social media savvy, active on various social networks, and have built a strong online presence.
Align your LinkedIn profile with your resume focus, optimize and fully populate all applicable LinkedIn sections with plenty of relevant keywords to boost your personal SEO, and get busy leveraging LinkedIn.
And keep an eye on the quality and number of search results for your name by self-Googling about once a week.
Clearly, John advises putting concerted effort into networking your way into your next job.
How do you get back into, and used to, networking again?
1. You may need to re-boot your job search strategy, and go back to targeting, researching, and defining your personal brand.
If you haven’t done this initial deep-focus work, you may be in for a prolonged job search.
2. Reconnect with your existing network.
Think of all the people you know, across various aspects of your personal and professional lives. Practice “give to get” networking.
3. Reach out to new people on a regular basis.
Cast a far-reaching net to build out your network (online and off-line) with fresh faces, including executive recruiters and people working at your target companies.
4. Create a personal brand communications plan to stay top-of-mind with your network.
Network and stay top-of-mind with people who can help you penetrate the “hidden” job market, where most people land jobs. LinkedIn, for one, gives you several often overlooked ways to make people aware of you, and the value you offer.
More details in my post, How Do I Rebuild My Network for Executive Job Search?
When you do get interviews, how do you deal with potential age discrimination?
In a Next Avenue article from a few years ago, Paul Bernard offered 7 Things to Say in an Interview, for job seekers over 50:
1. Prove that experience has taught you when (and when not) to take risks.
2. Note that you’re an innovator, but not someone who’s constantly looking to reinvent the wheel.
3. Demonstrate that you’re flexible.
4. Explain that you’re skilled in social media, but also know the importance of one-on-one connections.
5. Highlight your collaborative skills, but make sure the interviewer realizes you know how to make tough decisions on your own.
6. Enthusiastically point out that you embrace change, but also know that change can be difficult.
7. Finally, create the impression that you’re high-energy and loyal.
For more ways to nail the interview, see my post, How to Land, Brand and Ace Executive Job Interviews,
And remember my Secret Weapon for Job-Winning Interviews.