We have all heard that age discrimination is illegal; however, not hiring a person due to their age, in-and-of itself, is not necessarily illegal. This really only applies when the age of an applicant can hinder their ability to perform the required duties on the job, or when it becomes a health or safety issue (seek legal counsel if you feel you have been discriminated against.)
We often hear people who are in their mid-50s or older say that they are “too old” to be hired by anyone. Older workers feel that their age is the determining factor when it comes to being passed over for employment.
Many older job seekers are tired of trying to prove themselves, and have been led to believe that, because of the fact that they are older, they are no longer relevant in the workplace, that their skills and experience are no longer wanted, or they lack the knowledge or experience with regard to understanding current technological trends.
According to Fortune.com, this is a major concern for the majority of seasoned job seekers due to fear of age discrimination or bias; however, what most aging applicants do not realize is that experienced, seasoned employees are increasingly in demand.
So how old is too old to gain employment?
First, let’s look at skills and experience. If an applicant is good at their job and at what they do, age alone is not a factor. Again, according to Fortune.com, Wit/Keiffer headhunters are discovering that older job seekers with a decade or more of experience are in higher demand by employers, in fact, “14% of the CEOs” placed in positions by Wit/Keiffer were over 60 years of age.
Still think older employees aren’t marketable?
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, “unemployment declines with age.” and “the jobless rate for people 55 and up” was “the lowest of any age.”
So, if you have decades old experience, are good at what you do, have measurable/verifiable successes with prior employment, then you have a higher than average chance of gaining employment over the age of 60.
Now let’s look at what a seasoned job seeker needs to do in order to get a hiring managers attention.
Again, according to Fortune.com, get your references together, (supervisors, managers, and colleagues) along with your current and past employers information (dates, duties, successes, awards, certifications, etc.). Speak with hiring managers or staffing agencies/recruiters about what employers are looking for and what they need in an employee, and how your experience and skills meet those employers needs. Do your research and find companies that fit your specific skills, knowledge, education and experience. Do not embellish, fabricate or exaggerate any information on your resume or cover letter. Do not hide dates to make yourself appear younger on paper just to get an interview, and above all else, showcase your strengths, skills, experience and knowledge with confidence. Confidence, after all, is the key to obtaining employment at any age.
Happy career hunting!
Bureau of Labor Statistics. http://www.bls.gov/