Ageism is Alive and Well, But You Can Fight It, with Kerry Hannon

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It is against the law for employers to discriminate based on age. Yet, age discrimination is an undeniable truth in the modern workforce.

In this bonus episode of Find Your Dream Job, Kerry Hannon shares her tips on how you can overcome age bias when looking for a new job.

She reads “Ageism is Alive and Well, But You Can Fight It,’ her contribution to our new book, Land Your Dream Job Anywhere.

Check out Kerry’s book “Great Pajama Jobs: Your Complete Guide to Working from Home” 

Employers can be skeptical about hiring older workers because they worry:

  • You don’t have the stamina for the job.
  • You may not be up to speed or willing to learn new technology.
  • Your salary demands may be too high and your health benefits cost more.
  • You won’t be able to answer to or take direction from younger bosses.

Kerry outlines specific tactics for fighting back against these unfair stereotypes.


Mac Prichard:

This is Find Your Dream Job, the podcast that helps you get hired, have the career you want and make a difference in life.

I’m Mac Prichard, founder and publisher of Mac’s List. On today’s bonus episode, we’re sharing exclusive content from Land Your Dream Job Anywhere, our new book that was published February 1, 2017. For 15 years at Mac’s List, we’ve helped people find meaningful, well-paying work in Portland, Oregon, one of the country’s most competitive job markets.

Now, we put all of our best job hunting advice in one new book that can help you no matter where you live. Land Your Dream Job Anywhere also includes advice from many of the national career experts who have appeared on our podcast. Today, we’re sharing one of these features exclusively with you, our podcast listeners.

Here’s Kerry Hannon, author of Love Your Job,  reading her contribution, “Ageism is Alive and Well, but You Can Fight It.” Take it away, Kerry.

Kerry Hannon:

This is Kerry Hannon in Washington, DC. I’m reading my contribution, “Ageism is Alive and Well, but You Can Fight It!”

It is against the law for employers to discriminate based on age. Yet, ageism is an undeniable truth in the modern workforce.

There are several reasons why employers are skeptical of older workers. They worry that you don’t have the stamina for the job. They think that you may not be up to speed with technology or willing to learn new things. They anticipate that your salary demands are too high and that your health benefits cost more because of your age. And finally, they question whether you will fit into a culture where you may be reporting to younger bosses.

Here’s the good news: there are ways to fight against ageism. Here are my tips:

  • Don’t get stuck in the past.  Don’t try to simply replace the job you had before. Do some soul-searching to identify your skills and talents. Then explore how how you can redeploy these in a different arena.
  • Get a career coach. Studies have shown that career coaches are particularly helpful for job seekers over the age of fifty. If you can’t afford a coach, you may be able to find one through community colleges or the government’s Career One Stop Centers.

  • Consider temporary part-time work. Just because you’re looking for a fulltime job doesn’t mean you should turn down intermediate work. It keeps your resume alive and puts you out there networking and using your skills.

  • Don’t get caught up on salary. Don’t turn down opportunities because you’re waiting for the perfect salary. For the right job, you may need to accept lower pay. Think of other benefits: maybe you can get flex time, the chance to telecommute, or extra vacation time.

  • Exercise. Show you are physically fitand it doesn’t have to mean running fast miles and bench pressing a lot. Employers notice your vitality and vibrancy, and it shows them you are up for the job.

  • Study up on technology. Take the time to learn about new technologieseither through independent study or by taking courses or workshops.

  • Use social media. Get active on Twitter, have a LinkedIn profile, and participate in LinkedIn groups. This shows that you’re engaged in social media and are at ease with technology. Plus, this is great way to find new opportunities. Amazingly, many people I worked with twenty years ago have found me on Facebook and have hired me to do work. You never know who your next connection will be.

  • Focus on networking. Employers still hire people they know or who are referred by people they trust. As an experienced worker, you have a lot of contacts, many more than somebody in their twenties or thirties. So reach out! Dig really deep to find someone who might help you get your foot in the door.

  • Volunteer. Start engaging and working with nonprofits or other organizations. You might find a job doing skill-based volunteer work. It’s a great way to keep your resume alive and fill in gaps.

  • Join (or create) a job-hunting group. Find people who will keep you accountable to your job search: “What did you do this week? Hey, did you hear about this?” It’s really helpful to have a group of people to support you who are also on the same path.

  • Do your homework. If you want to be in a particular industry, go to meetings and functions that connect you to people and keep your skill set relevant. If you see job descriptions calling for a certain kind of certification, go get it.

  • Believe in yourself. It’s hard when you’re struggling to find a job and keep hitting rejection. This is when you need a good circle of people who have your back. Have some confidence and know that there is something out there for you!