Firstly I want to thank everyone for their fantastic response to this column, I will try to answer them all and each week pick the most asked questions to answer on the blog. But I will be trying to answer everyones issues and concerns. One of the most asked questions this week refers to age (Will My Age Affect My Job Hunt?) and this is a very common concern especially in the Middle East who have a lower retirement age than the West. This was one question which I thinks sums up the issue and which I hope to be able to answer.
Will My Age Affect My Job Hunt?
I am a 56 year old Sales Director in the GCC area looking for a similar role but it seems the age factor is going against me, hence I am not able to secure an interview despite of a very good experience in sales. I am physically very fit and very hard working. Please advise me as to how I can succeed in getting a job. I feel my depth of experience and number of years working should be in my favour. Being older I
also feel that I would be a more sincere and consistent candidate. I feel I am a victim of ageism. This is a very timely question with many a debate across the Middle East by Governments who are looking to increase the retirement age. The UAE and Saudi Arabia have just increased the retirement age from 60 – 65 with Bahrain set approve the draft law within one year of its legislative term. This is all good news especially for expats who want to be able to stay out there for as long as possible. However it does make finding a new job just before your 60th birthday difficult as although the law has changed there is still an ageist mind set that needs to be overcome. The trick is remembering that your experience is an advantage and so you should be proud of it. When dealing with my clients I always stress how important networking is, creating new contacts and expanding your existing networks. By doing this you can start to harness your successful career and build on the reputation that you have built up over the years. If you feel you are being held back by the age on your CV then make sure you try to make a personal connection with the appropriate agent before handing in your CV – this way they will already have first hand experience of your professionalism and so are more likely to give you more consideration. By networking you can start to generate referrals for jobs that have yet to make it onto the advertised job market – applying for a job through a recommendation means age will be less of a factor. It is also very important to think outside of the box – you are clearly very successful so maybe you should think less about what they can offer you but think of a way you can offer something new/different/exciting to them as well. Give yourself an edge by using your experience and market knowledge to set yourself apart from the crowd and make your application hard to resist without anyone even thinking about your age. Emma Foster, Senior Client Relationship Manager Have a question for Emma? Be sure to email Emma here. Alternatively you can follow Emma on Twitter here.