You would be surprised how many times I am approached by clients concerned about age discrimination. Fortunately, there are strategies to bypass this issue altogether. As with any job search, it is the job seeker’s responsibility to demonstrate that their qualifications are an excellent match for the position. 

Elevate your professional image

What is your electronic appearance?

  • Is your email professional and easy to remember? Does it show that you’re current with technology? I recommend that you use something simple like your name associated with a well-regarded, current email platform.
  • Since a potential employer will check your online image, it’s important that you know what will show up in their research. Start by Googling yourself and dig deeply – go beyond the first page of search results. Make sure your LinkedIn profile is optimized so that it shows up as one of the first items when someone searches for you on Google. 
  • What does your cell phone’s outgoing message sound like? It should represent the professional image that you want to convey.

Present a youthful attitude

Does your appearance need updating? Unfortunately, hiring managers may have stereotypes in their heads that you’ll have to work to overcome. It’s not fair. It can be daunting, but you have to deal with this reality.

Demonstrate the ability to fit into a younger workplace

The person interviewing you may view you as old and think of you in one of two ways:

  1. You’re the Baby Boomer on the investment firms’ television advertisement who can afford to play golf all day so why are you looking for a job? or
  2. You’re slow, inflexible, unfamiliar with technology and cannot keep pace with the younger workforce.

Here are a few strategies to combat these beliefs and biases: 

  • Be up-to-date in your field, project a youthful attitude and demonstrate by examples that you have the energy to manage the workload.
  • Remember most employees are significantly younger than you. Be ready to speak about your accomplishments and positive experiences working with younger employees, both as colleagues and as your manager.
  • Talk about how your work invigorates and energizes you. There’s no need to put on a show, but draw inspiration from where it naturally surfaces for you and put your spotlight there, particularly during the “tell me about yourself” phase of an interview.
  • Mention apps and other technology tools that you use and enjoy. 

Now lift your head up and keep plugging away. The perfect opportunity is out there somewhere!

Mary Southern, M.Ed.