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So you are looking for work but are worried that since you are a more mature employee that you might be discriminated against. Here I have 10 things you can do to help this from happening!
The good news: You have vast experience and many employers would be lucky to have you. The bad news: Due to your age and how you handle everything from writing a resume to what you talk about in an interview, you may encounter age discrimination.
Personally I prefer older workers as they are typically more mature, reliable and have vast experience that the team can draw upon, but many employers see older workers as stuck in their ways, unable to learn new software or hardware and not comfortable working for a younger manager.
1. Find out about culture. Employers know better than to address your age, but there is no reason you can’t ask your own questions about how you might fit in. (This ties in nicely with an office tour). Ask questions such as “I have worked in several organizations with diverse ages in each department – can I ask about diversity in this department/company/division?” If the manager is in fact several years younger than you are, you could address it by saying “I just interviewed with another company and we discussed how I might feel working for a younger boss and wanted to share with you that this is absolutely no problem…I did in fact report to a younger manager once and he too was concerned…(then proceed to tell him or her specific examples of projects you worked on where you had more experience than the manager and how it worked out well….)
Also, ask for a tour of the office during your interview. I used to stress to all of my candidates to do this, but in your case it is very important. The reason is that you get a very clear sense of the type of people already employed – are they happy, seem disgruntled or are they all of the same age group or cultural background? Even the way the employees look (or don’t) look at you and smile will give you a hint as to how you would be received in the company culturally. My recommendation is to ask for a “quick office tour” at the end of your first interview. Look for a company with a good track record of diversity. This means exactly that – if a company is well known for hiring all new graduates, then the chances of gaining employment in such a company when you are older than those in the company may prove difficult.
2. If you have been a manager and the position you are interviewing for is not a manager’s position, write your resume in a functional style but leave out titles as much as possible. Better to say Project Management as opposed to V.P. Project Management. The idea is to get the employer to see how you can do the job rather than thinking about how you might not fit in.
3. Talk about the challenge of the position and how there would be things for you to learn in this position. The employer may fear that not only have you “been there done that” and not be open to doing things differently, but they may fear that you may quickly grow bored and leave. This is not to say to lie and say that something is a challenge when it isn’t, but think of a few things that you haven’t done and stress that in fact you would like to take a few years to learn the role and the company. You may even discuss that although you have significant experience in industry A, that having the opportunity to work within industry B would be a challenge because….The key here is learning and if you communicate that you are a “lifelong learner” and you are not afraid to learn new things, processes and ways of doing things, it will help the employer feel more comfortable in hiring you.
Click here to read part 2 of this article