"Once you label me, you negate me" - Søren Kierkegaard
It is an unfortunate fact that today, people of all ages get discriminated against despite legislation. Ageism seems to be the last socially acceptable taboo. You can’t manage other people’s attitudes towards you but you can do everything in your power to neutralise stereotypes, both conscious and unconscious, that people may have about you whatever age you are.
Neutralise that bias!
In this article, I will be focusing on ageism experienced by more mature candidates. If you are a more mature candidate, and believe you are a great fit for the role, keep being as proactive as you can in anticipating any red flags that could potentially come up and overcome these preconceptions one by one by showing the tangible value you can add, that you get what they do and why they should hire you. way.
When push comes to shove, employers want people who can solve problems for them and will enrich their teams; that does not mean everyone must look the same, think the same, talk the same way or behave the same You don't have to conform to a stereotype or persona to fit a company's culture. Show how your values align with the company's values and mission, and evidence the unique and valuable perspective you uniquely bring with your skills, expertise and experience.
Manage your Personal Brand
If you do not manage your Personal Brand, other people will, by making assumptions about who you are and the value you offer. Take charge of your career narrative and join the dots for an employer so it makes perfect sense why they should consider you for that role!
Stay tech savvy
Tech is everywhere so show your potential employer that you are someone who is perfectly comfortable around tech - often a red flag for employers - that you are someone who can use online platforms and has a growth mindset. This can often be an unconscious bias against more mature candidates. It makes me think of the quote by John Tarnoff “You hear a lot about "digital natives." Well, baby boomers are the "digital founders.”
You may find yourself being managed by someone much younger than you. Can you show that this is not an issue for you?
Future-proof your career
The landscape of work is in continuous flux; Technology is disrupting sectors and industries which previously appeared to be untouchable.
Put together a career action plan so that you continue to grow and upskill, so your skills stay relevant and in demand. We live in a VUCA world - policies change, restructures and redundancies happen. Your career action plan will help you set SMART goals for the short term, mid-term and long term broken down into achievable objectives.
Network like there is no tomorrow!
Focus on building career relationships. Build and continuously strengthen your professional network because today most jobs are got through the hidden job market, referrals, networking and head-hunting rather than through online job portals. If someone is willing to refer you, that is social proof of your abilities. If you have not started networking yet, start from where you are with your immediate network of friends and family.
The value of diversity
Diversity in a team adds innovation, resilience, and a more nuanced and creative pool of experience. This is something that more and more employers are coming to value. Keeping a positive mindset despite the setbacks will help you find that enlightened employer who will need and appreciate the unique abilities you have to offer -whatever your age!
Believe in who you believe yourself to be!
Break free from other people's definitions of who you are! Those are not your stories- do not get caught up in them. Your character and worth are who and what you believe they are, not what other people label you as!