Advice for Midcareer Job Seekers: 5 Ways to Beat Ageism
In today’s rapidly evolving job market, Gen X (and older!) job seekers often find themselves at a difficult crossroads. If you are facing the unique challenges of a midcareer job seeker, don’t despair! You are not alone, and you can make it through this.
Ageism is real, and our research shows it. Hiring managers consistently favour younger candidates over those aged 45+, wrongly assuming younger workers will adapt more quickly to new technology and be a better fit with team and company culture.
But we also know that ageism gets it wrong. Employers rate the job performance of people aged 45+ very highly. Once you’re in the job, 86% employers say their midcareer and older team members learn as quickly if not faster than their younger counterparts.
How can you navigate this situation? Here are five research-backed tips for beating ageism.
5 Ways to Beat Ageism
- Apply to More Jobs
Our research shows that job seekers age 45+ submit fewer applications than younger seekers — and the difference is even more stark for job seekers over age 55. By applying to more jobs, midcareer and older job seekers can get more offers and increase their chances of securing a position. It’s a numbers game, and increasing the number of applications can be a strategic move to counteract age-related biases and land a fulfilling role.
- Engage in Training
Training plays a pivotal role in midcareer success. Reputable training and credentialing can equate with years of experience in a job with adjacent skills. This gives employers more confidence when considering hiring an applicant. Our research shows that midcareer individuals who successfully switched jobs are also most likely to have recently completed training across every group we surveyed.
And yet, while employers value training, fewer and fewer people take training as they get older. There can be lots of reasons — employers don’t offer it, the expense is off-putting, or you might assume experience trumps short-term training. But if you are on the fence about training, it’s crucial to recognize its powerful impact. Embrace training as an opportunity to enhance your skills and make yourself more marketable.
Seek out upskilling and reskilling opportunities through training such as our employment programmes, and experience the far-reaching benefits first-hand.
- Expand Where You Look
Navigating the job market as a midcareer professional requires a touch of adaptability and a bit of modern savvy. While it’s tempting to stick to tried-and-true methods that may be more familiar — such as relying on recruitment agencies or tapping into personal networks — the current job landscape calls for a broader approach.
Employers are casting their nets in diverse waters. They’re not just posting on traditional job boards, but are actively scouting talent on online platforms, social media, and niche industry forums.
For midcareer job seekers, this means adapting and expanding your horizons. Dive into the digital realm, follow companies of interest, join relevant online groups, and engage in industry discussions. By meeting employers where they’re actively posting and searching, you not only increase your visibility but also position yourself as a forward-thinking professional, ready to embrace the evolving world of work.
- Build Out Your LinkedIn Profile
In the modern job market, LinkedIn is the key online channel for professionals (soon to hit 1 billion users globally!), and for midcareer and older job seekers, it’s a potent tool to combat ageism. LinkedIn offers a platform where experience, skills, and accomplishments shine. And yet, the research shows that active LinkedIn use decreases with age. Put your best foot forward on this platform, and you’ll make an excellent impression on potential employers. Here are some tips for building out a stellar LinkedIn profile:
- Ensure your profile picture is professional and current, reflecting both confidence and approachability.
- Your headline should be more than just a job title; make it a concise value proposition that encapsulates your expertise.
- The summary section provides a golden opportunity to narrate your professional journey, highlighting key achievements and your passion for your field.
- Recommendations can be a game-changer. Request colleagues, both past and present, to vouch for your skills and work ethic.
- Regularly share and comment on industry-relevant content, showcasing your commitment to staying updated.
- Lastly, list all pertinent skills and seek endorsements for them, reinforcing your areas of expertise.
- Look for Organisations With a Multigenerational Workforce
For midcareer job seekers, targeting organisations that already have a multigenerational workforce can be a strategic and rewarding move. Such organisations inherently recognise the value of diversity in age, experience, and perspective, creating a rich tapestry of skills and knowledge. This diversity fosters an environment of mutual learning and collaboration.
Companies that embrace a multigenerational workforce “get it”. They know that the best learners and workers come in all ages. And the research shows that the more exposure hiring evaluators have to midcareer candidates, the more they value experience — meaning your profile can rise to the top.
Don’t let unfounded age biases deter you. Focus on showcasing your experience, skills, and the value you bring to potential employers. Remember, your age is a testament to your resilience, adaptability, and knowledge. Approach your job search with confidence.
At Generation, our mission is to train, support, and place people into otherwise inaccessible career opportunities that can change their lives. Explore our employment programmes to see how we can help you, or donate today to help us create career opportunities for our learners!