Many readers frequently write in to express their concerns about being eliminated from an employer's consideration because of their age. And while I'm not denying that ageism exists, I think the real issue that hurts an older job seeker's chances is relevance.
If an older worker can't prove that they have kept up with technology and leading-edge concepts for their industry or job function, they will lose out to their younger counterparts that appear more "in the know." So how do you counter potential age bias and quickly show hiring managers that you are just as relevant as the next applicant? Here are a few suggestions.
Add your LinkedIn URL to your resume and create a LinkedIn strategy.
Placing your LinkedIn URL alongside your contact information on your resume shows employers you are using LinkedIn to network and be found. Adding the URL to your business card is a great way to say "here's my resume" without actually handing someone a copy. Including the URL gives the contact the option of learning more about you online, at their convenience. Check out I'm on LinkedIn... Now What??? to learn how to leverage LinkedIn for job search.
Get on Twitter and start having relevant online conversations with opinion leaders in your industry.
Acknowledging the power of Twitter and becoming an active user can help accelerate your job search and get you on the radar of decision makers in your industry. Spend a little bit of time lurking to see how others are using the tool and then jump in. To learn more about how Twitter can help you in your job search check out The Twitter Job Search Guide.
Attend a Tweet Up or a Meet Up.
Tweet Ups are live meetings where people who have connected on Twitter can meet in person. Meet Up is a site where you can find people in your geography who are interested in the same topics as you (both professional and personal) to arrange meeting in person in a group setting.
Take the time to learn something new.
If you've been a writer or editor for a traditional publication, learn how to use blogging software. If you are a mainframe computer specialist, learn a new technology. If you are a PR professional, learn how to manage social media communities to engage your audience. You get my drift. Figure out what is leading-edge for your industry and learn how to do it.
Lose phrases like "back in the day."
You will quickly turn off recruiters and hiring managers if you spend too much time focusing on what worked in the past. Back in the day, my mom could "take a letter" like nobody's business and push the return bar on her manual typewriter with speed and agility. But that's not really relevant in today's world, so why waste precious space on a resume or time during an interview referencing it?
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