Boomer Job Seekers: Overcome ageism by showing otherwise

I spoke this week to a group of older job seekers on Florida’s Space Coast. Some are still in their careers, some are looking to rejoin the workforce. All are trying to figure out how to get a job in today’s world as well as overcome ageist assumptions.

The area here around the Kennedy Space Center is booming. One of the hottest tech areas in the country with the commercialization of space.

In speaking with someone in the business and job development sector here, I learned that the biggest challenge coming out of tech CEO round table discussions is finding enough qualified people both here and along the Interstate 4 Tech Corridor. Business opportunities are being lost due to a lack of staffing.

Yet, I also discovered and spoke with people who are older and struggling to get a job

I did a talk to these older job seekers entitled Right for the Job? Prove it! Good advice for anyone seeking a job but especially important for older job seekers who have even more to prove.

David Steward recently posted an article on entitled The Truth about HR Hiring PracticesExperienced HR hiring professionals told him that often older workers don’t get hired because they’re not a good “cultural fit”. They’re out-of-date, out-of-touch, overpriced, a threat to younger bosses and lack self-awareness.

There’s an important point here: It is up to each one of us to put in the effort and self-awareness to counter misconceptions. It’s not always ageism. Sometimes it’s us.

I recommended to these job seekers that instead of waiting for ageism to go away, have people perceive you as an outlier by virtue of how up-to-date, flexible and self-aware you are.

Get the job and if each one of us comes off as an exception to the rule (the stereotype), then together we will hammer away outdated notions.

For Boomers as well as anyone looking for a job, success is about PROVEING that you are the person for the job by going beyond the resume and making sure you show your VALUE to them. You have to sell you. DO NOT EXPECT ANYONE DOING THE HIRING WILL FIGURE IT OUT. Do not expect your resume, expereince and skills will get you the job. Those doing the hiring probably have a stack of resumes of similarly qualified people.

In his ProBoomer BOOMcast UCLA Anderson School of Management’s career coach David Cooley,  calls it connecting the dots and also discusses how doing your homework on a position and a business is a key to conveying your value and landing that job.

In another ProBoomer BOOMcast John Tarnoff shares how to create a career over 50 and discusses critical techniuqes.

Dr. Gillian Leithman in her ProBoomer BOOMcast: The Boomer Career Challenge (and opportunity)  shares great insight on keeping a job, phasing down your job or keys to Boomers finding new jobs.

Last but not least (and something my audience was very interested in) is Personal Branding. This is NOT about being braggadocious or narcissistic. It’s simply letting people know you exist and what you have to offer in truthful, relevant and authentic ways. Learn more from globally reknowned Personal Branding expert Dr. Natalia Wiechowski in her BOOMcast: A Boomer Career Must: Personal Branding.