As a career counselor and job search specialist, I speak before a lot of groups made up of older job applicants. Invariably the term “ageism” and the special concerns people in midlife face while looking for work is the hot topic of conversation.
Surprisingly, this much-discussed barrier to employment may not live up to all the hype. It’s undoubtedly the #1 fear that stops many mature jobseekers in their tracks. Nevertheless, in actuality, it’s far less pervasive than one might think. In each of my workshops I request a show of hands of people who feel they were personally victims of ageism. In every single case, 25 to 30% of the participants raised their hands. Ageism is out there, no doubt about that, but it may not be as widespread as we often hear.
Therefore, as I wrote in my last post, I’m on a mission to end the pervasive fear and defeatism that stops so many boomers from being successful in their job search. I suggest there are five reasons not to buy into all the doom and gloom. We covered the first three in my previous post on the topic. Today we’ll look at the final two:
- #4 The perception that we’re too old to be attractive to the employers of today is really an outdated paradigm. Baby boomers in the United States alone are 78 million strong and, because of our huge population bulge, we represent one of the largest if not THE largest segments in the workforce today.
In fact about 1/3 of the workforce is over fifty and it’s graying at a rapid rate. One of us boomers turns 55, 60, 65 & 70 every seven seconds!
So being devalued and cast aside just because you’re over fifty is no longer really true. Society just needs to catch up with us. Baby boomers, always being trailblazers, just need to once again lead the way!
- #5 In order to be attractive to potential employers, you need to exude an air of confidence in your abilities, enthusiasm for the position, and energy—presenting yourself as a “can do” type of person who will resolve problems and become a contributing team player. No one wants to talk with someone who’s discouraged or appears to act old and defeated. So, even if you don’t buy into the previous four reasons, you’ve got to buy this one. If you don’t, you’re doomed before you even start your search.
I’m certain many boomers have lost out on countless opportunities by believing they are no longer valued in the workplace. Please don’t let this be you!
And for even more key strategies to successfully navigate today’s difficult job market, be sure to check out Land the Job You Love: 10 Surefire Strategies for Jobseekers Over 50. This step-by-step guide shows you how you can turn your age into an advantage and brand yourself for success.