Article by Ceri Wheeldon
How a job advertisement is written can tell us a lot about how age inclusive a prospective employer might be.
These are difficult times and if you find yourself facing redundancy there may be the temptation to put together a CV and apply for as many jobs as possible.
That is NOT what I would suggest you do. There are steps to take before putting together your CV ( such as truly understanding your marketable skills) and ways to put together a compelling CV for each and every job you apply for. Before you do that I want you to be more discerning in terms of which vacancies you select to send your CV to.
Hoe age inclusive is the potential employer. We all know that there is legislation in place which in theory addresses age discrimination within both the recruitment process and the workplace in general, but that doesn’t mean that discrimination doesn’t exist in the form of unconscious bias.
What language is the employers using in its recruitment advertising?
When reading through a job advertisement, look at the language used in terms of how they describe the personal qualities of the individual they are seeking to hire, the job description and the company culture. How ‘age inclusive’ is the language? I was asked to participate in a seminar series hosted by the University of Exeter recently to highlight this very topic. We took a series of ads and looked at the language used in the of the three areas mentioned.
Many companies reveal a lot in respect to age inclusivity purely in the way they word their job advertisements. How age inclusive are phrases such as ‘dynamic, fast passed environment’, ‘suit a geeky individual’ , ‘enjoy our company barbeques and office beer fridge’. If you are asked to submit a video application is there the potential for screening and rejecting more mature candidates?
These sorts of phrases are subtle – and I have in the past defended the wording of my own job advertisement insisting that you can be dynamic at any age – but if you look at the advertisement as a whole, does it suggest age inclusivity or could it be biased in an unconscious way?
Also look at the imagery used on the employer’s website pages in its careers section? How many of the images portray ‘older’ workers?
When sending out your CV (having determined that you have the skills to the job and having tailored your CV accordingly ) factor in the language and imagery used before investing your time and energy. Tighten the odds of success and focus on the vacancies where employers consistently demonstrate age inclusivity.
Finding a new job in today’s climate is challenging. Maximise your chance of success by being focussed and putting in the groundwork in terms of understanding your marketable skills, tailoring your CV for each and every vacancy applied for and qualifying the roles you apply for before investing our time and energy.
To your success.
For a limited time I am able to offer one to one job search coaching via telephone and zoom. Email me if interested at firstname.lastname@example.org. I worked as a headhunter for nearly 30 years and understand both the employer and candidate journey having reviewed more CVs and filled more roles than I can remember !