It’s never too late to start a new job. It’s estimated that, on average, a typical American worker now has more than ten jobs over the course of their lifetime. But unfortunately, whether you’re inspired to enter a new field or want a new job after you retire, one of the biggest obstacles to re-entering the workforce can be ageism.
Ageism in the Modern WorkforceOlder people face stereotypes about their competency or intentions when entering the workforce. According to a recent AARP study, 90 percent of people pre-maturely pressured into retirement never make as much money again if they re-enter the workforce.
The same study found that 3 out of 5 older workers have experienced or seen age discrimination in the workplace. In addition, almost 25 percent of team members age 45 and older have heard negative comments about their age from coworkers or supervisors. And the large majority of these older workers anticipate age discrimination being a hurdle in finding a new job.
Effects of ageism go beyond money. For example, studies show that patronizing language or speaking loudly at older adults can adversely affect them psychologically or even make them less confident in their abilities.
1. Highlight Your Past ExperienceOne of the biggest strengths of older applicants is the more significant number of working years they bring to the table. Therefore, when considering a potential job, think about the ideas you can give to a possible employer that utilizes your experience and addresses their problems.
2. Stay Up-to-date on the World of WorkWhen it comes to the modern workplace, things innovate rapidly and frequently. Industry trends, new technologies, and best practices all change rapidly. So staying knowledgeable on what’s relevant in the workplace is crucial when applying for a new job.
Technology, in particular, tends to change quickly. So go out of your way to learn the newest and latest relevant technologies, and you’ll set yourself up for success. Not only does this prepare you to do an exceptional job, but it shows potential employers that you’re passionate and interested in your field.
3. Present Your Work History as a Cohesive Career StoryPresent your work history as a cohesive story no matter where or when you’ve worked. It demonstrates why you make sense for a position. Take the time to review your experience and think critically about the skills you’ve acquired over time. How does this position fit your history and skills? You want to show the potential employer when you apply or interview. Framing the position as a natural progression for your career should make your application much more robust.
4. Stay EncouragedConfidence can be contagious; the more sure you are of yourself, the more confident a potential employer may feel about you. Keep in mind that while some people believe outdated or inaccurate stereotypes, data indicate that older workers are more productive, educated, and loyal than younger workers. Experienced, knowledgeable professionals who do the hiring should know this.
5. Keep Your Resume Updated and be Intentional With Your Cover LetterA resume or cover letter is the first thing a potential employer will see from you. Take the time to update your resume and be intentional with the cover letter. It could make or break a job opportunity.
6. NetworkConnecting with other professionals at events in your area is a wonderful way to both find job opportunities and meet people doing similar work. You never know when a contact will meet someone looking for workers or need work done themselves.
7. Don’t Give UpNo matter your age, finding work in the modern job market is no easy task. Remind yourself it’s a process, and your first interview most likely won’t be your last. There are many reasons why someone won’t get hired for a job.
8. Be ProactiveThe best way for you to find a job is to be proactive while looking for one. A large part of successfully finding work has to do with your initiative. Don’t wait for someone to contact you.
9. Interview PrepWhile it may feel silly, practice answering interview questions, which helps build confidence in articulating your strengths and goals. Going over common questions is an excellent place to start during a job search, especially if it’s been some time since your last interview.
Take the StepsReturning to the everyday work world during retirement is a challenging venture in the modern workplace. Though age discrimination may not always be easy to spot, it is a reality for most older people seeking employment. However, while it may feel like the odds are stacked against you, there are steps you can take and tools you can use to confront ageism-related obstacles.
The most important thing to remember is that you’re a competent and capable worker with a lot to offer. The way you see yourself influences how potential employers assess you. The more positivity and initiative you bring to the table, the better.
Continue to pursue your goals, regardless of what others think you are capable of. Forget about what anyone else thinks if you need to. You’re looking for work again to help improve yourself, not impress others. Trust your experience and capabilities; don’t be afraid to get out there. Your perfect job is waiting.