Ageism is a terrible and very real bias within the hiring community and society. As a career coach, a Talent Acquisition Specialist and an advocate on behalf of many job hunters, it is my job and in fact, my responsibility to help people that are ‘aged out’ because of the veil of ‘re-organization’, internal company restructuring or creating what eventually becomes a mindset that says, you are now “overqualified”. That too is nothing more than a veiled way of saying – “too old”.
I have to discover solutions that help these, typically extraordinary people find a way to re-enter a work force that has a distorted bias towards the conflict between age and experience. Experience is and should be the key to every door. Why would a company or a Hiring Manager frown upon EXPERIENCE? When I read a job description, always included are EXPERIENCE, REQUIREMENTS and CRITERIA. Experience should be embraced, not rejected, excluded or minimized.
If the criteria align, I am satisfied with that and feel the need to at the very least, have a conversation with any candidate that is interested in and hungry for a meaningful job.
Experience brings in what I call the LLC – Low Learning Curve. A good thing……
I will convey how the alignments between the candidate and the job requirements connect and make a point of what the added value is and why this person is an ASSET. I work hard to get you in the right mindset, so you can present yourself honestly and effectively. I can coach you, but you have to sell it when you met an interviewer or when you are at a networking event. It’s essential that you project self-confidence, self-awareness and exhibit solid knowledge about this company, this job and why your EXPERIENCE is exactly what is necessary to bring something ‘special’.
You have depth. You have something to offer and you have to get that in their head. Age is a tough sell, but it’s not impossible. Attitude can help deliver the right message. Let them know that you have a firm grip and your perspective is well targeted. Your point of view DOES mean something. It’s significant and they need to recognize it.
Talking points!!! If you have any opportunity, you must communicate that you have something uniquely different to offer and it’s because you come in with EXPERIENCE. If your self-awareness is strong, if you are confident in your abilities, your age should not get in the way. You have to make it a non-issue. This is all about projecting the right IMAGE, not AGE.