7 tips for job hunting when you’re older

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When you’re pushing 50, you will find that simply going to a Philippine job hiring site and leveraging your decades of experience and contacts sometimes won’t be enough to land you your next job, no matter how qualified you are. Unfortunately, age discrimination in the job market is alive and well, and it’s extremely difficult to prove such in many instances. 

While it’s only natural that organizations take steps to find the best and brightest to fill their ranks, the way some try to do this is not only illogical but unethical and illegal as well. In the Philippines, hiring discrimination based on age is undoubtedly all three, and the existence of R.A. 10911, the “Anti-age Discrimination In Employment Act” theoretically puts the full force of the law in combatting this injustice.

Knowing this, older job hunters should know their rights and take steps to prevent and reduce the instances of age-based job discrimination.  While you cannot always fight malicious employers who actively avoid hiring older workers, a good deal of age discrimination may be unintended. By following the tips below, you may reduce the risk that some hiring managers may reject your application based on your age.

1.) Realize that most employers do not care about your years of experience.

It may be heartbreaking to realize, but no one cares about how much time you put in. When you look at the Philippine hiring scene, it’s clear that very few, if any employers are looking for people with more than just 5 years experience in any specific discipline. For senior management and c-suite positions, you will occasionally find requirements for 10 years of non-specific experience. You will rarely find positions where more than 10 years of experience is required.

Given that we know these positions will often go to people who do not have the required number of years of experience, we can read between the lines and conclude that the length of time you spend in a company does not matter anymore. Employers are now less likely to look into years of experience and place more weight on what value they believe the employee can provide them.

2.) Demonstrate your value.

Of course, your years of experience do not have to be for nothing. Instead of just mentioning how much time you spent in your previous jobs, you should show what you did that caused your employers to want to keep you. By showing what kind of value you provided to your previous employers as well as what benefits you can give to your new one, you can create a better argument for hiring you.

3.) Be systematic with your job hunt.

You should already assume that you will have a much harder time than less-qualified younger candidates, and you have to do your job hunt with that very assumption. You’ll have to maximize your chances by being more organized with your applications. Use a wider assortment of tools, contacts, and job listings to improve your chances. You can also use a spreadsheet application such as Excel or Google Docs to better keep track of the multiple applications you’re attempting.

4.) Swallow your pride.

Don’t limit your search to organizations that can provide the same salary and benefits that you were used to. You may have to start from the bottom or from a completely different place from what you previously experienced. Ultimately, this may be a great way to diversify your skills and simultaneously demonstrate how your previous skillset can provide your prospective employers with more value.

5.) Demonstrate you understand how to work with new technology.

Sometimes, employers are not necessarily turned off from older applicants not because of their age, but because older people will tend to not keep up with the latest developments over time. Make sure this is not the case with you. 

Take the time to understand how key technologies such as social media, mobile apps, and office applications are used for day-to-day productivity. You might not become an expert overnight, but by learning methodically, you will have the advantage over younger applicants who take these things for granted.

6.) Write your resume strategically.

Do not include a photo or any dates exceeding the past 10 years in your application, unless necessary. Remove your graduation dates and keep your resume entries to only your most recent job experiences. Your interviewer should not have a clue what age you are right up to the moment you come in for a face-to-face interview or have a video call.

7.) Research and prioritize companies that hire older employees.

There is a growing number of socially-conscious businesses out there that make it a point to give older employees a fair assessment. There are also businesses that just tend to hire older employees. 

When possible, you should be devoting time to apply to these types of companies. By taking the time to research your prospects, you can drastically reduce the time you would have wasted by applying at businesses that would not have given you a chance.

In the Philippines, jobs may not come easy — especially when you’re an older applicant. By accepting the reality of the situation, you can adapt and overcome the obstacles presented by the local job market, potentially finding your best career yet. Good luck, and good hunting!

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