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Monday, September 29, 2014

¤ 6 Easy Ways To Beat Negative Stereotypes As A Older Worker ¤

Despite legislation prohibiting it, age is a common factor in hiring decisions. This is especially true for older workers who must combat a number of negative stereotypes, specifically that they are less energetic, enthusiastic and creative. Recruiting managers have confirmed that companies often will note that they would prefer a younger candidate. What is a mature job seeker to do in the face of this reticence? Last year, the BBC ran an informative article with practical job search suggestions for the middle aged job seekers with seven key tips paraphrased below.

1. Know the stereotype and confront it
Stereotypes exist for workers of all ages. Generally speaking, younger workers are considered:

  • Physically more able and healthy
  • Easier to supervise
  • Lower salary expectations
  • Willing to use new technology
  • Creative
  • Energetic

While mature workers are considered:

  • Experienced
  • Reliable
  • Stable
  • Loyal
  • Have good practical knowledge
  • Mature

You might think that the best strategy is to accentuate
 the positive qualities associated with your age group. According to the experts cited in the BBC article, this is the worst possible strategy. Prospective employers will already assume that you offer loyalty, stability, etc. and saying so will just reinforce the negative biases as well. What employers don't know (unless you tell them) is that you are creative, energetic, comfortable with new technology, etc. These "young" qualities are exactly the types of things you will want to emphasize.

2. Don't stereotype yourself
Whether you are in or out of work, push to receive training to keep up with important trends. Technology has become a critical element of almost every industry. If there is something you are not comfortable with then get comfortable with it--even if it means asking your kids!

3. Try something new
Don't feel that you must stay in the same industry you just left. While it's true that your relationships and experience are most applicable to the same industry, if your industry is contracting you might be forced to look outward. Odds are you have skills that are transferable to other industries and industries that are growing are more apt to hire from outside.

Free:49 Benefits of Hiring An Older Skilled Worker. Learn More.

Click here to read part 2 of this article

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  1. Update your hair style and dye your hair. Socialize with younger people. SMILE! Watch t.v. shows and movies that cater to younger people. Update your wardrobe; go shopping with someone younger. Network, network, network - attend events that involve all generations.

  2. Where is the advice to be excellent at the relevant skills and being able to learn new things quickly because one likes to pursue challenges with rigor? Why is all this face rubbish important? The USA is doomed if dying hair has a perceptible effect on hiring.

    1. Thank you! You hit it dead on! I teach a group of students, ranging in ages from 19-45. I'm pushing 40. I notice the older students have such sarcastic, bitter attitudes it drives me nuts! The younger crowd can't go 2 minutes without checking their phones. There has to be a happy medium.

    2. Anonymous, perfect comment!.

  3. Where is the advice to be excellent at the relevant skills and being able to learn new things quickly because one likes to pursue challenges with rigor? Why is all this face rubbish important? The USA is doomed if dying hair has a perceptible effect on hiring.

  4. Lower Salary Expectations, that's all there is to it.

  5. I think you are correct. It is stereotyping.

  6. I think this is a good article and that you are correct, it is stereotyping. LOL love the comment on the 2 minutes without checking their phones, and yes on the lower salary expectations.

    Companies today want to get off as cheap as they possibly can, that's understandable, it's business. However, someone said to me about one company that I know of, and it's true, if you get rid of all the older workers, this place would probably shut down.

  7. Older more experienced and polished candidates have trouble because they are usually interviewed by much younger and somewhat less polished hiring managers who do not feel comfortable with these older candidates.

  8. I resent anonymous’ statement that older more polished applicants are interviewed by younger managers. That may be YOUR experience but not mine as a manager. I interview individuals of all ages and experiences. I have to hire those who have the skills and are in my budget. It is very sad to me when I see an experienced person walk into my office looking for high dollars that I know there is no way we can pay. However, the recession has changed the WORLD. The salaries that once existed have lowered by $5k/$10k/$15k. Believe me if I were to lose my job I know I would have a harder time than you to find a job. In the local market I’ve seen individual lose their jobs who were earning $70k two years later take a job earning $40k just to get back in the market. Also, I know training is important but employers can no longer afford those either. Most of my training I learned on my own, going to high schools to take classes on my own time and watching you tube classes or even paying for classes. This is an investment I made in myself. It is also a form of job protection. I work with people who refuse to spend one minute of company time learning anything new without being paid extra $$$ and learn something on their own time? Employees think you are crazy.

    It is not only experience it’s evolution as well.

  9. Great comments anonymous. I condider myself rather tech savvy (of course not to the point of being an IT person) but still try to upgrade my skills at my expense. Its all in what's in your toolkit. YouTube is a great way to get info bites on the latest applications. You have to embrace whats out there. Its hard not to be frustrated and many resist because they feel, after all their years honing their trade, what holds them back is not knowing what is or how to twitter(being simplistic). But it is what it is...

  10. Older workers are sometimes considered liabilities for a number of reasons, outdated, unfit, set in their ways, prone to politics instead of doing the job, liable to get into it with the manager, and and and. If you want to beat the potential for stereotypes, you need to prove yourself as competent, relevant, aware of problems without actively being a part of them, and overall, an asset to the company, not a liability. Don't get comfortable at that desk, it doesn't belong to you, you're only borrowing it from the company. If you ever forget that, you may be closer to being administratively terminated than you might (want to) realize. Change is the only constant, and in the global marketplace, your replacement is only an airplane ticket away. Something to consider, before you run your mouth in typical fashion at the meeting, this morning.


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