Have you ever searched for a job and got discouraged because of the age requirement? Do you feel like this age requirement is affecting your job search? Do you feel you are losing out on some jobs because you are either too old or too young? If so, you’re not alone in all these. I’m going to share with you some information on how to overcome this obstacle.
A lot of job seekers have been put off by this age requirement and I want to break the huge misconception. The fact that it is not age discrimination that you are seeing and experiencing but experience discrimination.
What Is Experience Discrimination/Age Requirement?
What do I mean by that? Well, let me give you a little back history. Right now there are about 77 million Baby Boomers out there. Who are Baby Boomers? A baby boomer is a term used to describe a person who was born between 1946 and 1964. The baby boomer generation makes up a substantial portion of the world’s population, especially in developed nations and all of them have decided to stay in the workforce a lot longer than the generations before them
The problem is that, over the last 20+ years, 100 million millennials have also emerged and entered the workforce.
Millennials make up over half the workforce today, and many of them are now in their late twenties and early thirties. What this means is that millennials now have enough years and experience to work in the job markets and given the fact that they are cheaper more technologically savvy, they tend to be hired more than seasoned workers.
Again, this age requirement isn’t really age discrimination. It purely an economic principle of supply and demand. When you think about it, in the world of business economics, there is too much supply (too many seasoned workers) and not enough demand for the skill set especially with the high unemployment rates in Nigeria.
So, what do you do about this (Age Requirement)?
Well, don’t take it personally, this affects both Baby Boomers and millennials. This is what we call “globalization” and every day the chances of getting affordable help are being lowered around the world by geographical and economic boundaries.
So, this begs the question of how you can start thinking about your career and how to change your strategy with job search and your relevance in the job market. Again, it’s a supply and demand concept. What you should do is to build a way where your skill sets and expertise are in less supply, so that you are higher in demand. It is easy huh?
Now that you understand this whole concept, focus on the reality that you are no longer an employee but in fact, you are a business of one. Your services are to sell and market your skills and expertise to employers. For a business to stay in business, it has to stay relative to the marketplace. And there are three specific things that we suggest people do to make that happen for themselves.
1: Define Your Personal Brand
The first thing you have to do is define and own your personal brand.
What are you the go-to person for? What is your specialty? What specifically can you solve/what pain point you alleviate? This is because employers can only hire you when you save or make them enough money. When you solve their problems, you alleviate their pains to justify the cost of hiring you.
So, it’s on you to get very clear about what your value proposition is, and to do so I suggest that you take our free “career decoder” quiz. This is going to show you what your workplace personas are—the things that you like to do, the tasks that you like to accomplish and how you like to deliver value in the workplace.
Understanding that workplace profile and personas is a very clear step in building your personal brand. It also makes it clear why people should hire you. So don’t let age discrimination scare you
Step 2: Implement a Career Strategy
The second step in the process is to implement a career strategy. Today, as you must know by now, every job is temporary. Our university education system taught us everything apart from how to manage our careers.
Now that the job market is constantly fluctuating, you can’t reliably build a 5, 10, or 20-year career plan. This means that you can only do one or two years at a time. Your career strategy has to be flexible, but it has to be very succinct and focused at the same time.
So at any given time, you should know exactly what you’re trying to achieve, both in your career overall and specifically with regard to relevant skills that you’re trying to grow and leverage.
Again, I’ve seen a lot of seasoned workers in their fifties and sixties who got to a certain level in their career and thought, “This is good enough; my skills are good enough.” Meanwhile, the whole world around them was changing.
This kind of works like a bell curve. They go up, they reach a high point and they start to go down. Now, all of a sudden, they’re trying to get any job they can—but they’ve also outpriced themselves in the market.
So, your job is to always keep focusing on growing your skills, and being able to tell the world specifically what you’re doing to upskill every single year.
Step 3: Work On Your Career, Not Just “In” It
The third step is for you to work on your career as much as you work in it. The truth is that we can easily get caught up in the day-to-day aspects of our job, and kind of grind through our week, our months and years, without ever really thinking about the strategy of our career.
One of the biggest quotes of this is networking. “These days, your network is your net worth. It’s all about who you know“
There are tons of statistics that show that the best way to get your next job is through a networking connection. Especially with regard to online networking tools like LinkedIn.
A lot of people don’t understand that there are protocols that you need to follow in online networking that is very similar to offline or in-person networking. Unfortunately, people have been short-cutting these protocols and making some terrible, terrible mistakes in the process.
No matter your age and experience level, building these skill sets and having these strategies in place is vital to a successful career. And it’s especially important if you’re trying to overcome experience discrimination.
Again, you are now a business-of-one, and you need to stay on top of these trends in order to stay relevant.