Age discrimination is a common fear older workers have when navigating the already stressful process of trying to find a new job. As a career coach serving senior managers and executives targeting the tech industry, ageism is one of the biggest fears I hear from job seekers.
Thankfully, there are steps you can take to fight back against age discrimination. If you find yourself looking for a new job and worried about ageism, here are six strategies I recommend:
6 Strategies To Fight Age Discrimination When Job Searching
1. Embrace your age.
While many executive resume writers and coaches recommend limiting your resume to the last 10 years of your career, my stance is different. I advise shining a spotlight on your years of experience and comprehensive leadership career, as this is a competitive advantage in the saturated job market. This is especially true in the tech industry, where there is a need for experienced managers and executives.
2. Rebuild your confidence.
Now, if the fear of ageism has made you hesitant, you will want to take some time to rebuild your confidence. Write out a few bullet points articulating why an employer should hire you over someone with half your years of experience. Then, weave these statements (your “fabulousness”) into your resume, cover letter, and LinkedIn profile. Your job as an applicant is to communicate how your lengthier career translates into added value for your next employer.
3. Harness the power of your network.
A longer career also translates into a more robust network. Reviewing your LinkedIn connections, Facebook friends, and phone address book can remind you of the network you have accumulated over your career and life. Then, begin reaching out and notifying your network that you are on the search for your next opportunity. You might find it helpful to set a weekly goal as to the number of people you will contact.
4. Be open to feedback.
As you reach out to your network, it’s important to be open to feedback. No one is too experienced or too good for constructive criticism. At the same time, not all insights are created equal. Before accepting feedback, ask yourself whether the person providing feedback is in a position you aspire to. If they are, accept their insights and adjust your job search accordingly. Conversely, if they’re not in a position you aspire to, you might want to take their comments with a grain of salt.
5. Stay motivated.
It’s important to know the job search can take months, especially if you’re searching for an executive role, and requires you to get and stay motivated. With this in mind, you want to avoid any family and friends who enable negative self-talk. Instead, build a support network that uplifts and inspires you. And if you don’t have one, create one.
6. Hire a professional.
Lastly, consider investing in a career coach who is trained in supporting job seekers with robust work histories. Importantly, seek out a professional who believes your age is a competitive advantage, because it is. A quality coach can provide you with an additional perspective as you look for your next role. You’ve got this!