Most of this so called age discrimination is based on stereotypes, rather than reality. If you are Generation Y, there is the perception that you are there to pursue personal satisfaction, that you are less concerned with permanence and not influenced by authority. There is also a perception that you have unrealistic expectations, large egos and you are not reliable.
If you are over 50 the stereotypes include the perception that you are unable to adapt to change, don’t like being micro-managed and you are less tech savvy.
So how do you overcome these stereotypes and what techniques should you use, to successfully secure a job?
Re-write your resume
If you are a Generation Y, you probably won’t have a large arsenal of experience, but you still can develop a strong résumé, by focussing on the employers needs, being technology savvy on paper and really emphasising your achievements and accomplishments.
You should also remove bloated objective statements and emphasise personal characteristics, such as reliability and maturity.
If you are over 50, then you can remove age discrimination barriers, by:
- Not inserting your birth date
- Removing the dates from your education and qualifications if they are more than 15 years old
- Delete experience that is more than 15 – 20 years old, or if this experience is still relevant, include a heading summarizing this experience, without including the dates.
- Inserting your computer competencies
If you are a Generation Y, Generation I (internet generation) you won’t have a large professional network, but you do have the advantage of being technically savvy, so you can take advantage of social networking sites, such as Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn. This will enable you to connect with your friends and colleagues, so you can exchange recommendations, share experiences and get support.
If you are over 50, lucky you, as you probably already have a network of people you know and respect you and chances are someone within the network can help you. To take advantage of a network, simply ask colleagues and friends for advice and leads.
Search jobsites that are targeting your age group, as employers are specifically seeking someone within that age category. Some examples include:
If you are a teenager, check out: http://www.teenjobs.com.au/
For entry level positions try: http://www.juniorjobs.com.au/
For older job seekers, you can try the following Australian jobsites.
Present yourself effectively at interview
Live up to the stereotypes and you will be quickly eliminated at the interview stage. During the interview:
For Generation Y, this means getting rid of excessive body piercing, covering tattoos and avoiding extreme fashion statements.
For Baby Boomers, don’t dress like Grandma and Grandpa, even if you are! Make sure your overall look and hairstyle is up-to-date, so that you appear to be a progressive, professional and in control.
For General Y, make sure you turn up in time, act in a mature fashion and avoid the “what can you do for me” attitude.
For Baby Boomers, your maturity will work to your advantage, but don’t take it for granted and be willing to come across as flexible and adaptable. Also avoid being cynical about the process.
Finally, don’t ever assume that your age is working against you. In many cases, it might simply be your perception, rather than the reality. Before you blame age discrimination, have a close look at the other issues that might be letting you down, such as your career marketing documents, experience (or lack of experience), or how you are performing at interview.