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Words Mean a Lot

Your choices of words says a lot about you

Part of our reason for existing is to review articles about job seeking – especially as they pertain to job seekers over the age of 50. Most of what we see are good, very good. Others? Well not so much.

But we did learn something interesting from a recent piece. To avoid any embarrassment (and they should be embarrassed), we will not reveal the name of the author and/or the source of the article.

We were struck by the choice of words by the author. Included in her suggestions, she advised older job seekers to “communicate your willingness to learn new technology.”

On the surface that may seem to be simple and straightforward and innocent enough. Who could have a problem with that?

We could.

Ageism and Technology

That author is committing one of the cardinal sins of ageism. She was assuming that you, the older job seeker, either don’t know; aren’t aware of; or haven’t kept up-do-date with the latest technology. But, that’s OK, because she wanted you to let the prospective employer know that you’re “willing to learn.”

No. Her assumption is way off base. Yes, there are far too many mature workers who can’t navigate their ways around a smart phone in the same way that a 25-year old can, but that no reason to assume that you’re technologically inadequate. The truth is that most workers, job seekers and members of the generally older segment of the population are very comfortable with current technology. Are there things that they can learn? Probably. But overwhelmingly they are completely capable.

If the author was paying attention and thought about what she was saying, she might have chosen her words oh, so slightly, differently. Instead of saying that you’re willing to “learn” new technology, today’s old job seeker should be telling interviewers about their willingness to “demonstrate” their knowledge and capability with new technology.

Yes, Virginia. Words do make a difference.


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