We can say that age is relative or just a state of mind. But many baby boomer job seekers know the reality of age bias against workforce veterans. They have experienced their relevance as a vital job candidate having a direct correlation to their age.
So how can the 50+ job seeker mitigate an interviewer’s perception of an applicant as old or old school?
Here are some telltale signs found in resumes, interview demeanor, digital presence and personal presentation. In fact, if you exhibit any of these signs, you might be perceived as an older job seeker, regardless of your age or your ability to contribute:
Your resumes and cover letter
Avoid the following practices, all of which can highlight your age to a hiring manager:
Skip the objective statements
This is an old resume practice that is no longer a best practice. Skip the objective (which is all about you); instead state how you’ll help the employer’s problems.
Don’t offer “references available upon request”
This is dated resume practice. Leave these words off your resume. If the employer wants your references, they’ll ask.
Avoid the complete chronological resume
Don’t list every job you’ve had, with your title and duties. Instead, showcase only relevant skills, work ethic, leadership, problem solving.
Update your old email domain
Get rid of AOL, EarthLink and other once popular email address domains introduced in the 1990s that reveal your age.
Your online presence
Love it or hate it, we live in a world connected through social media. You must have a digital presence where professionals interact online. With this in mind, consider the following:
Create a solid LinkedIn profile
Recruiters and hiring managers will first search LinkedIn and other social sites for candidates, rather than job boards or databases. So set up a complete, polished LinkedIn account.
Use LinkedIn regularly
LinkedIn isn’t a “set it and forget it” tool. To make the most out of the platform and put yourself in the best position possible, try to remain active on the platform. Make connections, participate in groups, and comment on other peoples’ posts. This is a great way to get noticed. Plus, it keeps you up-to-date with the latest developments in your industry.
Type your name in Google and see what comes up. If you can find unflattering pictures or information, employers can too. Get your online house in order by removing any questionable content or burying negative stories.
Be involved with blogs and websites that relate to your professional field of interest, either as a writer or a named commenter. Again, this shows off your knowledge and expertise. This is also a great way to “outrank” any negative Google results that may appear about you.
Your personal presentation
Your “look” creates an instant impression–current or out-of-date. Make sure you present yourself in a way that shows you’re still in it to win it:
Freshen up your look
Consider what you can do to look a bit more youthful. Get a more contemporary haircut. Grey hair? Color it!
Know the fashion
Invest in an outfit that is in fashion. Career clothing has evolved significantly over the last few years. Showing up in a pinstriped, double breasted suit is a sure way to make you look out-of-date.
Don’t go too casual
While you want to look more youthful don’t go too far. Show up for your interview in a formal professional outfit. Save the hoodie and jeans for the millennial who is interviewing you!