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How to Get the Job When You're 'Too Old for IT'

Blame TV shows featuring underage hackers or our post-Facebook culture for equating innovation with college kids who will drop out when they make their first million. Whatever the reason, it's a fact that many companies fill their IT jobs with folks who seem barely old enough to drive. But what if you're a slightly more experienced candidate?

IT worker 

(Photo Credit: ambro/freedigitalphotos.net)

"IT pros and recruiters say ageism is a real thing, adding that it's a particular problem for people older than 50," writes Kevin Casey at InformationWeek. "They also agree that it rarely takes the form of explicit age-related discrimination, which is illegal. Instead, ageism occurs in subtle ways, often during an employer's application and interview process."

It's harder to fight against discrimination you can't see, but you can do a few things to improve your chances of getting the interview and the gig.

1. Focus your resume.

You don't need to include every job you've ever had. Even if you have 30 years of experience in IT, the job you had 30 years ago probably doesn't relate to the job you're applying for today. Regardless of how long you've been working, rewriting your resume for the job at hand is always a good idea. It'll help your prospective employer see your most relevant experience.

2. Update your skills.

Whether you're looking for a job or happy where you are, working in IT means constantly learning new things. The tech world moves fast; if you don't move with it, you'll be left behind. And don't forget to add your new skills to your CV.

3. Be innovative.

"Older workers often face stereotypes that they are resistant to change.... Tell the prospective employer about any creative ideas that improved your previous employer's bottom line or made the company more efficient," suggests Emily Brandon at US News.

4. Be flexible.

Even the job interview process itself is changing, as more companies employ technology like video interviewing to do first-round assessments of candidates. Don't panic; a little practice ahead of time goes a long way.

5. Be prepared.

And speaking of practicing, that's one thing that will always be true of interviewing for a job: practice makes perfect. Do your research ahead of time to find out as much as you can about the interviewer and the company before you sit down with the hiring manager, and practice interview questions until you feel confident in your ability to show why you're the best person for the job.

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