How to Combat Job Interview Ageism with 3 One-Liners
Nowhere is it more evident than in a job search that small changes can create big outcomes. These small changes especially apply to older job applicants who find themselves combating an ever-pervasive world of ageism, albeit mostly silent, but a definite deterrent to finding work. If you are an older job seeker and would like to learn how to combat ageism with just a few simple phrases, read on…
Here are three great one-liners that will make a big difference in your job search:
“I am committed to ongoing professional development.”
A major and very negative preconception about older applicants is that they have very outdated skills, especially technical skills. Younger employers will likely assume that you are set in your ways and aren’t committed to accepting new challenges.
Using the phrase, ongoing professional development, on your resume and also when you’re networking with people can help change these attitudes. It is vital to let people know that you actively pursue classes and ongoing learning opportunities to keep your skill set on the cutting edge. This is important in assuaging any doubts that you will be able to compete with younger applicants.
“At this point in my career, I have realized which aspects of my work give me the greatest pleasure.”
Being overqualified for a position is one of the biggest deterrents to landing a job when you’re older so proactively stating this will help diffuse the situation.
Older job applicants sometimes reap more satisfaction from a lower paying, less visible position rather than the hard-driving, managerial positions. In fact, some find their greatest fulfillment in jobs where they work with their hands to create something tangible. They also find more meaning in positions where they can directly impact other’s lives or one that has less responsibility, more flexibility, and greater time freedom. When your personal drivers and values have shifted, this is a great line to use in a job interview.
“I want to make YOU look good.”
Younger interviewers often come to a wrong conclusion that older job applicants are resistant in taking direction from someone with fewer years on the job and less experience. They might feel threatened by your skills and experience. You should always address this perception to help diffuse any threats they might perceive to their authority. Even though these concerns might go unspoken, they can be deal breakers.
Because of that, make sure to be very clear that you have worked with and/or reported to a younger boss in the past, and it was never a problem. (Always be truthful, if you’ve never worked with or reported to a younger boss, then this statement shouldn’t be made. However, we have all worked with someone younger at some point in our careers.)
Always state that you understand every job brings new opportunities and challenges for growth and that you are eager to learn and contribute. Make sure they know your main goal is to support their efforts and add value to the team.
If delivered from a position of strength, these three one-liners can be powerful in any job interview or networking conversation. Let them know that you are a candidate who brings a unique combination of experience and strong skills as well as a strong desire to contribute to the company and that your age is perceived as a valuable asset, not a threat to avoid.
Using these tips will go a long way in presenting you as a candidate who will appeal to employers of all ages. Choose your words wisely, deliver them with conviction, present yourself with confidence and then expect success.
Lastly, one of the best ways to combat any potential age-based discrimination is to prove, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that you’re up to speed with modern trends in both your career field and the job-hunting process. A clean, modern resume can serve as a great reminder that you aren’t outdated or clinging to old conventions, and help you start on the same page as your recruiter, who may very well be half your age. Now get out there and defy expectations!