Advice about battling age discrimination abounds. Interview coaches advise job candidates to not wear a watch to interviews since it dates them, to carry a Smartphone since it makes them look young, and never, ever, utter the words, “When I was your age.”
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has seen a 40% increase in age discrimination complaints since 2006, and the AARP reports that: “Once unemployed, older workers are, on average, out of work longer than their younger counterparts… Average duration of unemployment for jobseekers aged 55 and over was 52.4 weeks… This compares to 35.6 weeks for the younger unemployed” (excerpt from June 2011 AARP Public Policy Institute Fact Sheet).
It can be tempting to concede to the discouraging tone of statistics, but in reality what helps anyone – regardless of age – keep or find a job in today’s market is understanding technology. Even print materials now seamless cross into the digital world, appearing electronically and leveraged by social media.
It is crucial that job candidates understand the power and uses of social media and blogging. The digital world is infused into every aspect of business expertise, and is changing everything about how business is done. It is changing market research. It is changing direct marketing. It is changing branding.
Is it changing your approach to work or finding work? It should.
What also must change is the way you present yourself. How do you present yourself? If you have true genuine energy, enthusiasm, focus in the interview process, that comes through. If you come through as frustrated and feeling like the deck is stacked against you because you do feel like you’re being discriminated against based on your age, that cynicism will show through as well. Your mental attitude is incredibly important.
There are excellent resources available to help prepare for an interview. Use them in conjunction with updating Facebook and LinkedIn profiles and taking whatever classes are needed to get up-to-speed on technology (or just sit down and talk with your teenager). Then take off your watch (just in case), pick up your Smartphone, and get into the groove – the digital world awaits you.
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