Whether you feel doubted as "too young" or overlooked as "too old", the discrimination and stereotyping based on a person's age (which is ageism), is an unfortunate reality that many job seekers face in today's competitive job market. As a professional you may encounter challenges when attempting to pivot into new career opportunities due to preconceived notions about your abilities, adaptability, and potential longevity in a role. However, with the right strategies and mindset, you can overcome ageism and successfully transition into exciting and fulfilling career paths. Let's explore seven approaches to tackle ageism head-on and navigate the job search process to secure rewarding career changes:
1- Accelerate Your Learning: Times of transition and change require curiosity, a growth mindset, and a willingness to experiment and even fail a bit. Empower yourself with new skills, and enrich your life with new experiences that result in new found lessons, connections, and even new self-discovery milestones
2- Frame Your Value with Clarity: Job interviews provide an opportunity to address age-related concerns proactively. Emphasize your passion for continuous learning and growth, discuss specific examples of how you've successfully adapted to change in previous roles, and provide evidence of your ability to contribute positively to the organization. Being confident and enthusiastic about the new career path can help dispel any age-related doubts in the interviewer's mind.
3- Address Any Gaps in Your Employment History: If you do have any gaps in your employment history, please don't leave them unexplained on your resume. Make sure you address it professionally and with brevity. Examples could include: extended maternity leave; explored entrepreneurship with a successful exit; became a full-time student to complete MBA degree; medical leave; etc.
4- Re-Craft Your Personal Brand: Attend industry events, join online forums, and engage with peers on social media platforms to connect with like-minded professionals and potential employers. Additionally, invest time in creating a robust personal brand by optimizing your LinkedIn profile and showcasing your expertise through blogging or contributing to relevant publications. An active online presence will demonstrate your passion for the industry and set you apart from other job seekers.
5- Re-Cast Your Image: It's time to get rid of any outdated profile photos of yourself. Embrace who you are today, get your headshots professionally done, and proudly post an up-to-date image of yourself, with consistency across all of your social media and public-facing content.
6- Adopt an "Ecosystem" View: It's difficult to grow without effective mentors, coaches, and other types of supporters. It's wise to establish your own ecosystem of people that share pertinent information, provide direct referrals, produce influential recommendations, and help to keep you visible and relevant.
7- Demonstrate Technological Proficiency: In today's tech-driven workplace, demonstrating technological proficiency is essential for overcoming ageism and successfully transitioning into new career paths. Invest time in learning relevant software, tools, and applications commonly used in your target industry, and then make sure all of it is listed on your resume and LinkedIn profile. Embrace digital platforms for communication and collaboration, showcasing your comfort and aptitude for modern work practices.
To wrap it up, demonstrating a willingness to acquire new skills, stay updated with industry trends, and adapt to modern work practices will showcase your flexibility and commitment to growth. Participating in workshops, webinars, and online courses relevant to your desired field not only enhances your knowledge but also highlights your determination to succeed in your new career path.
What are your thoughts on ageism? How often do you think it occurs? Do you have any recommendations to add to the listed strategies from this post? Please feel free to comment, and of course to share this post as well. Thanks for engaging on such an important topic.