The job market is swelling, but it does not seem to be for the elderly. Why? Many studies say ageism, the last unrecognizable prejudice. With it looming over them, many older people apply for job after job without success. How can they propel themselves in a clime knowingly or unknowingly conducive to their failure?
Having written about retirement, finance and career transitions for Forbes, U.S. and World Report, Money and USA Today for twenty-five years, Kerry Hannon says that many employers, young and old, stereotype the old as low-energy people.
Remain healthy and youthful
The old can fight this pigeonhole by exercising. The person should develop or retain swift reflexes both physically and mentally. One can learn an instrument to reduce depression, increase joy and appreciate motor skills; starve the brain to sharpen it; keep a journal to facilitate critical thought; and more. The person should exude confidence, and remain bright in interactions. This attitude dispels stereotypes many have about the old.
Learn new software and other trends
Given that the age range of forty-five to sixty-four has 9 percent fewer people who access the internet and those sixty-five and above have 35.9 percent fewer people, most stereotype the old as lacking technology skills. The old job seeker should freshen up those skills. He or she should enroll in computer classes, learn trends and integrate into the modern day.
The person should ensure that his or her knowledge of modern technology and trends, such as the current one in the millennial workplace of respect no matter the position, exceeds that of top candidates. Modernizing oneself includes being nice towards young employees. When one enters the building for the interview, one should socialize with young workers. Sometimes the interviewer asks those in the office how each candidate behaved. The answers they receive may determine his or her chances of getting the job.
Add a personal touch
This entails networking. Some companies, especially small ones, feel comfortable hiring someone they or their contacts or friends know. So the job seeker should connect to as many people as possible while assuring the quality of the connections. At times, small businesses value older employees more because of the calm, experienced attitude they bring to the workplace. And since many small businesses rely on warmth and human touch, the applicant should be sure to be warm and hands-on.
Become a contractor or a part-time worker
The San Francisco Federal Reserve Bank conducted a study that created fictional workers with varying ages, then used those profiles to apply to thousands of jobs. The old workers, those sixty-four to sixty-six, were thirty percent less likely to receive a call back, and the old women job seekers, forty-seven percent.
If one wants to avoid being unemployed, one should become a contractor or take a part-time job. A part-time job relieves a company from having to pay benefits, which can be cost-prohibitive. With experience, an old job seeker can become a contractor. The job entails advising and at times extensive research, but if done well, companies pay well. A contractor job may, in the end, pay more than any regular job could. But a contractor must be very good.
None realize this except the old, but stories of ageism are many – such that they seem to engulf the job market as a whole. With the difficulty in proving ageism, the person should not put his or her age on the resume, the dates graduated from college or high school, or any age indicators which make it easy to keep from getting a potential job. Above all, he or she should persevere to find the right job.