Top 5 Ways to Avoid the Age Bias in the Job Search

Finding a job over 50 is not impossible. While age discrimination does happen, there ARE employers who embrace and even seek out candidates with experience. The trouble is candidates over 50 do not always know how to position themselves in a way to attract these roles. In fact, most people don’t, which is why my comprehensive training program at The Job Search School has proven to be so successful! If you are over 50 and searching for a new job, here are the top 5 ways to avoid age bias:

1.) Understand how applicant tracking systems (ATS) work.

ATS scan through applications that are submitted, searching for job-specific criteria. Though these systems can help save companies time and money, they can also serve as a roadblock for individuals who are highly qualified. Since most people use pre-formatted resumes, as well as the same resume for each position they apply for, they never seem to hear a response… Sound familiar? Use a resume that has minimal formatting, and take the time to customize it for each application. This will help push your resume through to the “interview” pile. 

2.) Focus on experience from the past 10-15 years.

ATS provides employers with the option to select their desired experience level for applicants. Though mostly unintentional, employers may sometimes select 10-15 years of experience, which automatically eliminates candidates that have more. As such, I would limit your work history to the past 15 years to help get your foot in the door. You can always discuss additional accomplishments during your interview.

3.) Remove dates from your educational history.

I recommend removing dates from your educational history unless your degree has been completed within the last 3 years. Dates may serve as a trigger during an ATS scan, and a younger person may unconsciously view them through a biased lens, placing your application aside. Your degree is valuable and should be displayed proudly; removing the dates merely provides you with a competitive edge.

4.) Create an updated LinkedIn profile.

A LinkedIn profile is a must-have when conducting a job search. It is free to set up and well worth your time and energy. Upload a recent, friendly (yet professional) photo, a keyword-infused headline and summary, and job descriptions that highlight achievements from the past 10-15 years. You can list your degrees (sans dates), your certifications, and your volunteer experience, as well as various skills that your connections can endorse. Once set up, I would ask your past and present colleagues to provide recommendations of your work, which will help enhance your profile.

5.) A can-do, will-learn attitude.

There are countless programs and certifications available online to help further develop your skills and learn new ones! Topics range from technology programs to the latest in project management, change management, and team leadership. Taking the time to invest in yourself not only demonstrates an eagerness to learn but a willingness to grow professionally. Nobel prize-winning physicist Rosalyn Sussman Yalow once said, “The excitement of learning separates youth from old age. As long as you’re learning you’re not old.”

As always, if you need additional assistance, please feel free to reach out. My program can provide you with a customized job search plan, a personalized LinkedIn and resume review, and various tools to help make your job search a success.

Your dream job is waiting!

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