In Your Job Search, Are You Making Your Age “A Thing?”

By Mary Truslow on

With five generations in the workforce, working alongside one another for the first time ever, it’s no surprise that we spend a lot of time talking about age bias, particularly when it comes to hiring.

I work with marketing and creative jobseekers of all ages and have found that while ageism in a job search certainly can exist, it doesn’t always…even when the concerns are:

*I just graduated, and I’m not being considered for the roles I know I can do.

*I’ve been out of the workforce raising kids, and now I’m being viewed as out-of-touch.

*I’m older; companies don’t think my skills are current.

These scenarios can easily beg the question, “Am I not getting hired because of my age?” But I would suggest asking another question first; “Am I not getting hired because I don’t appear relevant?” If you can show that your skills, background and even mindset are relevant, then your age truly should not matter.

Here’s a quick checklist to determine if you are putting your most relevant foot forward in your job search:

  • When you describe your experience (in your resume, LinkedIn profile, interviews), do you use current industry terms and language?

  • Is your LinkedIn photo recent?

  • Are you actively making connections on LI? (Think 500+ if you’re in job search mode.)

  • Creatives, how’s the UX on your site? Does your portfolio showcase the latest industry trends and tactics? Are you neglecting your resume/portfolio and perhaps assuming your Instagram account will get you a job?

  • Do you use current software and technology? If not, are you taking classes (online or off) to get up-to-speed?

  • Are you dressing appropriately for the culture, but one notch up, during interviews? (If everyone is in jeans, don’t wear a suit.)

  • Are you a fit for the company culture? (Because the hard truth is—not every culture is a fit for every generation.)

  • Do you come across as flexible? Do you have an open mindset?

  • Can you prove you’re a fit for the job? (Unfortunately, just knowing you can do it is not enough.)

  • Are you doing your homework on the company before interviewing?

  • Are you a consummate learner? (Companies hire people who are curious, always asking questions, and keep themselves informed.)

Before assuming your age is the obstacle in your job search, make sure relevancy isn’t the real issue. Because, good news, relevancy is something you can change.