Career Advice: I’m 66 – How do I avoid ageism in my job search?

Dear Dorothy,I have had a couple of interviews over the phone and one in person.  I am currently 66 years old and actually began my working career in 1962.  Knowing employers oldandyoungtend to practice ageism, my resume is a functional presentation rather than dates of hire.  Every interview has asked for dates of hire.  If I am interviewed in person they can see I don’t look or act my actual age but once they realize my age by phone or internet, I don’t hear from them again. How do I get around this ageism?  Do I start not mentioning some of my past employment and skills?
Hi, in response to your questions.

Primarily your question is about your job search from what’s been described.  To avoid ageism in both your job search and interview try doing these things:

 

  • Even though you are preparing a functional resume, recruiters prefer chronological because they want and need the dates to ensure they are satisfying the criteria of the job opening.  No matter which format you use, the rule of thumb is to limit your experience to something close to 15 years.  When you go back further you open up the possibility of the experience not being relevant or up to date.  You also open up the possibility of age discrimination.

 

  • In both your resume and phone interviews, you can use words and phrases to combat known age related issues.  Those tend to be: – not up to date – slow or resistant to change – low technology capability – inflexible.  You can be proactive by addressing those issues ahead time.  You can offer things like: “I’ve kept up with all of the Microsoft office software along with x brand of project management tools.” “I pride myself in continuous learning.  I like to learn new things that will help me improve the job I do.”

Keep your comments focused on the most relevant skills to the job you are discussing.  Keep in mind that for a hiring manager or recruiter, they want the freshest, most up to date person they can get, so yes, limit how far back you go in describing yourself.

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Do you want to Attain Meaning and Purpose in your Life?

At various points of our maturity, many of us wake up to the idea that we want greater meaning or purpose in our life. This doesn’t mean what has come before was without meaning. It simply means we are to a point where we want to expand our impact to promotionsomething bigger than ourselves. Attaining or seeking purpose and meaning is a skill set we should develop. When I first posed this question to myself, I felt kind of panicky, because I absolutely understood “why” I should, but didn’t know the first thing about “how”.

Let’s look at both questions. Among the reasons “why” it can be important is that purpose and meaning in your life create drive and energy. You could translate that into motivation and excitement. When a person has a reason to get up in the morning, they are eager to see how the day unfolds and excited to accomplish something toward that goal. Purpose and meaning give your life structure. Structure is defined as a pattern of organization. While some people might think organizing their life sounds boring or unnecessary, I challenge you to think of it like this. We basically want to feel like we accomplish things in our life. What if you couldn’t tell if you were? Organizing yourself or creating structure for something that you feel strongly about will support your own self-acknowledgement of doing great things.

The “how” question can be tricky. How (or what) can I have purpose? In my own discovery and work as a coach, I have come to understand purpose to be the positive impact you can have on others. Your purpose is not about you. Granted, you will feel seriously great with any selfless act you perform. I think that feeling is a confirmation or temperature gauge to let you know that what you are doing is deeply resonant. The other part of the “how” question has to do with discovery. In order to discover your purpose, you must be willing to explore and experiment. You have to do the research to unearth possibilities of things that will both serve others and capitalize on who you are. You have to be willing to try things absent of any expectations for any specific outcome. Somewhere in that process, you will silently discover your reason for being here. You can then turn up the volume as loud as you like.

Bonus Tip: Adapting is key to your career survival, growth and advancement. Get Free Instant Access to Video series The 5 Most Common Ways Introverts Commit Career Self-Sabotage and How to Avoid Them. Click here now: www.introvertwhisperer.com/careergoals Brought to you by Dorothy Tannahill-Moran, Introvert Whisperer, dedicated to unleashing your career potential. www.introvertwhisperer.com