While it is illegal for companies to discriminate against older candidates based on age, it does come with a few stereotypes. Employers have fears that you are not as open to new ideas or new ways of doing things, are just biding your time until retirement, and/or are stuck in your own ways unable to change to fit the organization’s culture.
While all of those assumptions likely do not apply to you, it is beneficial to combat them in your presentation of yourself on your professional social media profiles and in your interviews.
Dress the Part
It is important to ensure your look coincides with today’s style. Therefore, make sure your clothing is current and appropriate to the job and employer culture while still being age appropriate. Avoid the temptation of wearing the same suits you wore 30 years ago. Invest in modern business attire. Additionally, style your hair in a way that evokes the image of youth. Through your appearance, you can be perceived as years younger than you are while also emitting a youthful demeanour.
Present Your Experience as an Asset
While employers may be seeking candidates who are youthful in their approach and outlook, your experience is unparalleled. You have witnessed change. You have seen companies evolve. You know what works and what does not. Your age does not diminish that experience or the value that experience brings to a company. Therefore, present that as an asset and make it front and centre. Create a compelling story around your background and how your experience has benefitted companies in the past, and how it will bring value to any potential organization for which you work.
Be Technically Savvy
A lack of social media presence sends the message that you are not with the times because we live in a society in which technology and social media plays a significant role in our professional and personal lives. Therefore, even if you are resistant, force yourself to learn it and embrace it. Likely, you will find that professionally social media has the potential to make you a stand out candidate and motivate potential employers to seek out your experience and expertise.
Focus on Your Professional Future
Throughout the process of your job search, particularly on your social media profiles and in your interviews, demonstrate your commitment to a professional development plan. This plan shows that you actively seek out new ways of doing things, that you are open to change, and that you are committed to finding the best approaches to ensure the success of a project and the company.
Show You Are Young at Heart
With the right image and strong social media presence, you will clearly demonstrate that you are modern and savvy. However, your presentation and perspective can make the difference between landing a job or being overlooked. It is essential that all your communications reflect you are open and willing to see new perspectives, and not stuck in your own ways of doing things. Employers view candidates who perceive their ideas and techniques of doing things as the only way as a high-risk choice. Show that you are a team player, demonstrate your flexibility, and let your experience shine!