We work with all ages on job search projects. We have worked with the 20 year old just completing college and entering the workforce, the 30 year old who is looking to move up the ladder, the 40 year old who is wondering what the rest of his/her working life will look like, the 50 year old who is strong on the inside but on the outside is showing some wear and tear, and lastly the 60+ year old who is seasoned and frustrated they don’t get a second look.
Everyone of those age brackets mentioned gets age discriminated against. The 20 year old doesn’t have enough experience. The 30 year old has job hopped and needs to be more specialized. The 40 year old needs to be less specialized; they need to be more mold-able. The 50+ year old has too much experience. EVERYONE gets discriminated against. It doesn’t matter and it is an EASY reason to not hire someone.
Keep in mind there may be good reasons for not hiring the young with limited experience or the older workers who may not be as flexible or controllable as the young. These pseudo-discriminations are all around us but not the only ones. There are many of us (including myself) who don’t give certain people a second chance. It is safe to say that this is human nature. We categorize people without even knowing it.
So what is a job seeker to do? Realize this practice exists but you are not allowed to use it as an excuse. Using any pseudo or true discrimination in most cases as an excuse is just that, an excuse. Fight the age, gender, experience, look, color, and race issues in all of us and you will never stop. I am NOT saying you should never fight those issues but when you don’t get your way with a job prospect, don’t make this your excuse. Otherwise you will miss a very important piece to your job search….self realization.
Self realization comes from learning from mistakes and missteps. When you get stuck in your job search, start asking the question: “What am I doing wrong?” I know this is a negative way to look at yourself but what it does is ask yourself to help you solve the puzzle. Where are you getting stuck? You may be getting telephone interviews but no face to face ones. You may be sending your resumes to online postings with no response. Wherever you are getting stuck, ask yourself “what am I doing wrong?” to help you get unstuck.
If you are only getting telephone interviews, then consider how you are speaking to people on the phone…are you rushed, not relaxed, frustrated, tired, etc. Have a friend call you at an unplanned time from an unknown number and see how you pick up the phone. Maybe you are alienating people from the first word “Hello”.
Find out what you might be doing wrong and change. I love the old adage that says something like “Insanity is defined by people doing the same things over and over and EXPECTING a different result”…don’t be insane.
Let’s Get Started!