AARP Eye Center
Even though you put lots of effort into figuring out how to show potential employers you’re the best candidate for the job, there may be one key factor that you’ve been overlooking. While your many years of professional experience arm you with valuable skills, to some employers your long work history might just signal that you’re old. And despite laws that prohibit age discrimination in employment, being older often can be a barrier to getting hired.
For example, in one experiment conducted for the National Bureau of Economic Research, more than 40,000 résumés were sent to employers who were hiring. For each job opening, hiring managers received résumés from candidates in three age groups, based on the work history each resume showed. Despite all groups having similar skills, applicants in the youngest group (ages 29 to 31) received many more requests for interviews than those in the oldest group (64 to 66). The youngest group also generally received more callbacks than people in the 49–51 age range except for janitorial positions.
Statistics like these can be frustrating. Your age is not something you can change. There are, however, ways to approach your job search that may lessen the impact that age bias has on your chances of being hired. Here are four ways to age-proof your job search.
AARP Membership — $12 for your first year when you sign up for Automatic Renewal
Get instant access to members-only products and hundreds of discounts, a free second membership, and a subscription to AARP The Magazine.
Your network is your secret weapon
One way that previous work experience may help you is through the contacts you have made with people in your industry. Because they have personal knowledge of your skills and achievements, they can recommend positions and employers that would be a great fit for you. And, just as important, they can be your key to the hidden job market — roles that get filled without ever being advertised.
There are many ways to build and use your network successfully. LinkedIn and other social media sites can be an efficient way to reach out to former colleagues. Keep in mind that your younger co-workers may also have valuable advice about strategies for finding jobs today. You can find more tips about how to network successfully by clicking on this article.
Make sure your résumé fits the newer formats
You likely already know not to include your college or high school graduation dates on your CV because that information effectively tells employers your age. But there are some less obvious age-related details you may not know to remove from your résumé.