HR Roundtable panel member Michael Haberman gives expert advice on how to deal with “ageism” while job hunting:
Let’s face it, being 60 and newly unemployed is not a good position to be in. “Ageism” is alive and well and exercised on a daily basis. Obviously it is not openly stated, but report after report shows it is there. Your resume looks good, but then after showing up for an interview you start getting the cold shoulder. If you also happen to be overweight the problem is compounded. Add to that some other shortcomings, such as lack of computer skills, lack of a college education and an out of date skill set – well let’s be honest you have a problem. So what do you do? Here are some tips:
Part of your age is your state of mind. Just because you have gray hair does not mean you have to act old. Exhibit some energy and vibrancy. That may take some practice.
A second part of you age is how you look. Do you look “frumpy”? If yes, then redo your wardrobe to look professional but not dated.
If you are overweight start losing it. You are now in a position to work on it. Nothing more than a vigorous walk in the morning is needed. This will also give you more energy and you will feel better.
Are your computer skills up to date? If they are not then work on them. There are many opportunities available to improve your skill set. Learn how to surf the Web for job information.
Have no idea what the words “social media” means? Then learn. This is one of the primary methods that recruiters use today to find candidates. LinkedIn, FaceBook, Twitter are all outlets to broadcast your talents and their use by the “older” set is unusual. Just this usage will make you more “youthful” to many recruiters.
Network. Don’t know what this is then read Harvey Mackay’s Swim with the Sharks or Keith Ferrazzi’s Never Eat Dinner Alone, or the many other books on networking.
Is your work skill set dated? Then get some education. The Workforce Investment Act, administered through organizations like CobbWorks!, provides money for people to update skills or to retrain in a different field.
Realize that this is hard work, but you come from a generation that is noted for its hard work. Be organized, be efficient and be driven. Now is not the time to sit and cool your heels.
Lastly, check you attitude. Negative shows in your posture, your face, your voice and your handshake. I don’t care how old you are no one wants to hire negative.
Remember, your selling points are your work ethic, ability to take direction, the broad exposure you have had to different situations and the stability you offer. Convince an employer you will give them 10 years of good hard work, something Generation “Why” may not. Good luck.
Let us know, have you faced discrimination during your job search because of your age?