By the Ignite Career Center of JCS
Age has surfaced as a recurring theme in recent career coaching sessions. As the pandemic changes the way we job hunt, it’s only natural to wonder whether how old we are will affect our ability to secure work.
Ranging from “I’m too young and inexperienced” to “I’m too old and not tech-savvy enough,” this fairly common concern regarding age discrimination has amplified lately. In a saturated pool of job applicants, it can be easy to worry that you’re “too” much of something and “not enough” of something else. And it’s true that ageism is real and affecting older job seekers as much as younger people who are being denied access to internships and paid opportunities, especially as the world is slowly adjusting to COVID times. But the truth is there are ample opportunities for those who stay focused, flexible, and innovative, because the world of work is changing for good. And right now, more than ever, employers are emphasizing different values that have nothing to do with age.
Employers have so much to consider in these rapidly changing times. Do they want to invest in virtually training someone in an entirely new career or in technology proficiency? Do they want to spend time investing in a candidate who might want to stay remote after the pandemic is over or one who will prefer to return to the office? Either way, the employer has to make an investment and their decision will vary by virtue of their organization’s field, business model, and core principles.
So, instead of focusing on your age, get clear on your skills and values and, expend your energy on what you can control.
- Write an ageless resume. No matter how long you’ve been working, keep your resume clear and concise. If you’re wary of your work history revealing your age, include only the past fifteen years of your career on your resume.
- Get creative. If you’re worried that you don’t have enough skills or experience, find ways to bolster your resume. Can a more tech–savvy family member or friend take the time to teach you a new skill? Can you volunteer with a career-related organization? Can you freelance or intern for a small business owner? Networking isn’t only for job openings; use your connections creatively to expand your horizons.
- Research before applying. Before you spend time tweaking your resume and cover letter for each position, make sure that your effort will be worth it. Look at each company’s website and marketing materials to figure out what they emphasize in terms of training, corporate culture, and benefits, which could tell you a lot about their hiring trends and employee demographics.
During the pandemic, we all have enough to worry about. Your age, as you job hunt, should not make the list. Remember that age is just a number and stay assured that the right opportunity for you will arrive as employers keep changing the landscape of the COVID job market.
Whether you are new to the job market or a seasoned professional, the Ignite Career Center, a program of Jewish Community Services, can help you go further and get there faster. Our highly experienced Career Coaches provide individuals of all backgrounds and abilities with the customized services and tools they need to stand out from the competition. For more information, call 410-466-9200 or visit ignitecareercenter.com.