Does Age Matter When Applying to a Job?

“Am I not being hired because I’m too old?”

Age discrimination comes to mind when talking about unemployed workers above the age of 50. But is this true? Isn’t it illegal to ask someone’s age during application? Did they choose a candidate that is younger, even though you have more experience? How do you know? Let me give it to you straight right now: Asking an applicant his/her age is legal. What’s not legal, is forming their judgement solely on it. There’s no way to tell for sure whether they based their decision on this factor or not and believe me, hiring managers won’t admit it even if they did.

One of my administrative members can tell you from personal experience that both her parents made changes in their careers at 50+ years old. Her mother was recently promoted to supervisor at a government agency and her father became head of his department last year. She remembers shortly after her father graduated at age 55, him telling her, what he was thinking - who would hire him at 55 years old? What it would be like working for a guy who's old enough to be his own child? But her father went out there, found a job he really enjoyed, proved himself and started moving up in the ranks.

So what can YOU do?

  • Make an Ageless Resume. This is something that should be entrusted with professional resume writers. They can tweak it for you, make the dates disappear, and make you look younger – on paper (if only they can do magic on our skin and hair!).
  • Know Technology. This is one of the biggest concerns of employers with older applicants; show them that this will not be an issue with you. Share experiences that show you’re tech-savvy, and that you wouldn't have any issues keeping up with the younger generations.
  • Turn Questions in Your Favor. For example, you’re asked why you wish to take a position that is lower that what you previously held. You can answer, “Being a manager was something I enjoyed immensely, but at this point in my career, I’d like to get back to the basics and really get involved in projects. I’d like to have that sense of fulfillment again.” See how that sounds?
  • Be Positive. Employers want people who are optimistic, confident, and receptive to innovation. Toward the end of your interview, you could say something like, “This conversation made me want to work more for the company.” It makes you sound energetic and enthusiastic. 

What I’m saying here is that age does matter, but it should matter for all the right reasons. It should also not be a hindrance to further progress your career. It's never too late to make a radical career change no matter how old you are as long as continue to prove yourself and show that you are a valued member of the team you will never have to question your worth. Confidence is the key to success!!!

Leave a comment