I’ve been thinking a lot about age discrimination facing job hunters. I plan to do a series of posts on the topic and have been collecting links and resources. There is certainly no shortage of information. (If you are an expert on the subject, or a job seeker with a personal experience or story to share, be sure to contact me!)
When I started to think about this topic, I remembered a blog that Marci Alboher wrote that described a job hunter, Lisa Johnson Mandell. Lisa was profiled on the Today Show because she had transformed her image as a 49-year old “over-the-hill” job seeker (in her industry – entertainment) by taking advantage of online resources and re-making her image to seem more “hip.” I was intrigued by the story at the time and wrote a blog responding to the topic.
(In a funny coincidence, Marci Alboher, author of the book, One Person/Multiple Careers: A New Model for Work/Life Success, is now a senior fellow for Civic Ventures, an organization dedicated to helping people reinvent themselves with “encore careers.” I’ve recommended their GUIDE for boomers (and anyone) who hopes to reinvent their careers in favor of doing something in the nonprofit world and/or the public sector.)
In doing some digging, I found out that Lisa actually has a book out now on the subject of remaking yourself for the job hunt – Career Comeback. In it, she talks about everything from appearance to attitude as they relate to overcoming age discrimination in your job hunt.
I just received my copy of Lisa’s book today, so I was inspired to share the post I originally wrote in July 2008 on the topic of ageism on the job hunt. I think it is just as topical (if not more so) today! Here is a version of that post…
If you haven’t looked for a job in a while and/or aren’t tuned in to managing your “digital footprint” – what comes up when someone “Googles” your name – it’s time for a quick lesson in social media. The long and the short of it is this: an online presence is key to how people will perceive you. Especially if you are in a “young” industry that discriminates against workers over 40, appearing connected to new ways of presenting yourself (your brand, as it were), may help you open doors that seemed closed.
Take the story of a 49-year old entertainment reporter (as reported in Marci Alboher’s blog) who remade her image by freshening up her appearance and wardrobe and creating a hip online presence that made her seem younger than would belie her 20 years of industry experience. She hired people to help her, which is a great idea, but Marci points out that asking fashion conscious friends and teenagers (your children or others’) for advice and information about trends and technology is another option.
The key factor is, no matter how much experience you have, it is important to keep up with what is going on in today’s job market. Video resumes, Wikis, video conferencing, podcasts…Job seekers should be aware of these technologies and willing to use them! Be resourceful and aware – you may be surprised to learn that Web 2.0 tools can be a lot of fun and helpful beyond networking and job seeking. (Be sure to let me know when you start using a Wiki to plan your next potluck!)
Facing discrimination in your job hunt? I can write your resume to make you look younger. Need help navigating social media and online networking? Keppie Careers is here for you! Don’t forget that clear, concise, optimized job search materials AND a strong, well executed plan are key for job search success! I can help with every part of your job hunt! Need a great resume? Tips to use social networking? Interview coaching? If you need help mobilizing your networks and your job search plans, learn more about how I can help you! While you’re at it, don’t forget those social networks! Be sure to become a fan of Keppie Careers on Facebook…I’d be thrilled to have you as part of the community! Since we’re on the subject of doing something new…Are you on Twitter? Jump on and touch base with me @keppie_careers.
photo by Help Age