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Is My Age Holding Me Back From Getting A Job?
By Sonya Buck, Australia


As we all know we are living longer, with average male life expectancy now *80.9 and women *84.8 years old. Often living longer means we may need to work longer, so obtaining work or staying employed is essential.

Although there is age discrimination in workplaces, it’s pretty difficult to spot if you are a candidate seeking a role with an organisation. Sometimes it may be disguised by you being told you are ‘over qualified’ or you receive comments such as ‘you wouldn’t know about this type of program’, but otherwise employers are very careful not to be perceived as ageist.

Whatever discrimination legislation is in place, it’s difficult to change overall attitudes, so you need to be proactive in making yourself as employable as you can.

Firstly, you might need to think of a career change; possibly the role you did previously no longer exists and may now be replaced by technology or you have an inkling that it’s the younger crowd being hired in your industry. Look at changing to a thriving growth industry and maybe consider a mature age apprenticeship.

Training and keeping your skills current will make you more employable, keep them up to date and prominent on your resume. If you are gaining assistance via Government job resource agencies, make sure they provide training in an industry where there will be a good number of jobs on offer.

It’s an awful reality, but you may have better luck applying for jobs where you work from home or in a call centre where face to face contact is not required and age isn’t such an issue. If you are in a good position if all else fails consider a business startup, making sure to research thoroughly.

Why not age proof your resume? Not including your age is now permissible and covered by legislation. When completing your resume don’t include every position you ever had since school, employers usually limit the number of pages they require anyway.

Use your network. Who do you know who might help open a door for you to at least obtain an interview?

Learn about Social Media and add that to your resume.

Make sure everything you communicate appears contemporary – your resume, LinkedIn page etc. Talking LinkedIn, how does your career look there? Review LinkedIn thoroughly and update.

Can you be honest with yourself? Think hard about your overall image. Does your clothes, general appearance or attitude lead people to think you are older than you are? This is particularly important at interview.

Lastly, approach everything you do with confidence even though you may be feeling frustrated by knock backs because of your age and aren’t in a great mind space.

Remember, if you feel you have been discriminated against, you may wish to lodge a complaint. Contact the Human Rights Commission. You may not get a job at that organisation, but the next older candidate may.

Having loads of experience and skills, but being passed over as you may be perceived as too old to employ is a frustrating situation which makes no sense. Keeping up to date and highlighting your ability to keep pace may be the key to gaining that next position.       *