Be a Myth Buster


by Sharon Boerbon Hanson

Let’s face it.  Age discrimination happens. If you are over 35 (yes, in some IT disciplines, it’s 35), you need to know how to counteract age misperceptions during your job search. Start by understanding the myths out there, and then use that knowledge to combat them.

 

Common myths about older workers include:

 

  1. Resistance to change
  2. Know-it-all attitude
  3. Discomfort reporting to a younger supervisor
  4. Slow and unproductive

 

Here are tips to help dispel those and other age myths:

 

  1. Look up-to-date
    • Both men and women should have their hair cut and styled. Get rid of your “glory-days” do. An old-fashioned hair cut or style can be interpreted as a lack of willingness to change.
    • Your apparel needs to reflect today’s styling. Your glasses may need updating as well.
       
  2. Network
    • This in how the majority of jobs are filled today. Join and attend events and meetings for IT associations, such as UMSA, MHTA or the MNITWFC. Do informational interviews and attend IT job clubs.
    • Use social media. Join LinkedIn, the Twin Cities IT Alumni Association, and online groups around your interests, such as Drupal users.
       
  3. Deal with unspoken concerns
    • Keep your interview answers short. Don’t dominate the interview in an attempt to show what you know.
    • Indicate you are a team player able to work with multiple-ages, genders, and diverse work styles.
    • Talk about long-range plans for being with the company.
    • Stress your business and personal effectiveness skills. Employers are eager for IT workers with strength in those areas.
    • Talk about the future.
       
  4. Exude enthusiasm and energy in an interview
    • This means stand up straight (no hunching or slouching) and walk with confidence.
    • Use good eye contact.
    • Exude a positive attitude about yourself and life in general.

In addition, focus on your results in former positions and how they benefited the company as well as your dependability and reliability.

 

Sharon Boerbon Hanson is associate executive director of Advance IT Minnesota, a Center of Excellence that promotes awareness of and excellence in IT careers in order to ensure business success. She has over 25 years experience in marketing and brand-building, and has over 15 years as a resume and interview coach.

 

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