It can be very disheartening to realise that your age can blind a potential employer to your skills, experience and achievements. But if ageism is proving to be a barrier to finding work, then you’re far from alone.
The numbers speak for themselves – while older folks make up a significant chunk of the workforce (34%), they also make up more than half (53%) of those who avoid job hunting due to discrimination, including age bias.
Facing age bias in job interviews can be tough, but it’s also a chance to show off your skills in a competitive job market.
Here are some practical steps to help you not only overcome ageism but also highlight the unique strengths that come with your years of experience:
Keep up with tech
Start by researching the most common workplace tools and getting familiar with a couple of them. It not only boosts your tech skills but also shows you’re proactive about adapting to new technologies.
Change the conversation
If interviewers focus on your age or tech skills, steer the conversation. Talk about your excitement for bringing fresh perspectives, celebrating diversity or your commitment to continuous learning.
Get ready for the interview
Check out the organisation’s age demographic data, especially in HR and leadership roles. This can help you anticipate potential biases and give you insights into the company’s culture.
Remind yourself of your strengths
During the interview, emphasise what you bring to the table – experience, professional expertise and diverse perspectives.
“With the right mindset and a focus on your unique strengths, you can conquer ageism and claim your well-deserved spot in the professional world.”
Have the right mindset
Be confident about working with a younger team. Use real-life examples to show the value of your experience. Your confidence is a powerful asset.
Don't focus too much on age
Be open about your age, but don’t draw too much attention to it with outdated references or self-deprecating age-related jokes. Concentrate on your qualifications and experience.
Show off your collaboration skills
Address concerns about working with younger supervisors by sharing real examples of successful collaboration with diverse teams, without directly mentioning age.
Know your rights
Learn about the Age Discrimination Act, which makes it illegal to discriminate based on age during recruitment. If faced with age-related comments or questions, gently steer the conversation toward your skills and experience.
Unsurprisingly, many Australian women have triumphed and continue to kick goals well past their forties.
Here are a few honourable mentions:
“I look at those incredible women, like Ita, who is still leading at 81, as proof that you can break through stereotypes,” McCabe finished, “With the right mindset and a focus on your unique strengths, you can conquer ageism and claim your well-deserved spot in the professional world.”
Rizvi added, “It’s not just about fighting external biases but also believing in yourself.”