Monday, August 23, 2010

Of age limits and work experience requirements. What's up with these?

While you may see this as an act of discrimination, there's a good reason why companies set specific requirements for their job openings. Practicality is the point to note here, not prejudice nor is it a twisted sort of acumen. It may make you feel bad, but companies make sure to list down what they want in detail for you to have something to contemplate on -- sort of like a test to applicants which will classify them into two very manageable sets by results-time: those worth the time to interview and not. Only the real qualified applicants are going to send resumes and cover letters that answer to what the ad needs directly, it's been noted by many recruitment specialists. Call it what you may, setting up strict requirements, albeit seemingly discriminatory, is a strategy that's long been written in the book -- something to make everything easier to process, effectively saving time and resources. In today's challenging work world, what company wouldn't want to save on these two?

In as much the same way as we have different talents and interests, job functions also have different needs. Engineering jobs require precision in numbers and technical details, for instance. Someone who prefers arts and crafts isn't likely to enjoy what he'll be expected to accomplish under such a position and it won't take long until he experiences dissatisfaction. College is where everything starts to make sense to a lot of us career-wise -- the addition of specific education degrees in the ads is not to make you feel bad about yourself but for you to know if you're considering the right career path or not.

What about those that tend to discriminate people in terms of appearance? Some receptionist jobs, tourism jobs, and TV broadcasting jobs ask for this "thing", because, well, they're from industries that thrive from public image and customer service -- just following what's written in the norms book, we suppose. It's the way things go -- there's no better way to explain this to you. You don't have to be physically attractive to reach the stars, anyway. What do you do best? Go for a job function that considers that talent as an asset.

As for age limits...well, we understand that age discrimination is a developing trend in today's job market, but you can make your age work for you instead of against you. Being older is a sign of dependability, wisdom and loyalty; you're entitled for a senior position, it goes without saying. You just have to look more eagerly as most of these kinds of jobs aren't advertised. Applying for a job for which you don't qualify for in terms of age will just make you seem desperate. Waiting is essential here. Ong Teong Wan, Consulting Partner for Corporate Training at SIM and Honorary Advisor to STADA on Professional Development has another good advice for older workers: "I think it will be useful for older workers to accept, if not opt for, contracts for service and go for variable remuneration or income instead of requiring fixed base salaries at some point in their career, as part of their career planning."

We understand that unemployment gives out a certain feeling of rush and insecurity, but even though applying for everything you see is a great way to feed the lack you're feeling, it's not going to take you anywhere. When it comes to career, everything should be thought of in the long run POV; doing this is just going to make you feel even more frustrated with your condition. Good words from Sandra Sandu-Reeves: "If you don't meet the requirements, wait for a suitable job opening. Aimless applications can frustrate the job seeker as much as recruiters."

Let Singapore end this discussion with a quote from Anton Ego, the antagonist critic in the Pixar animated movie, Ratatouille: "Not everyone can become a great artist, but a great artist can come from anywhere." We're not talking about being artists here, but his point, when viewed in general sense, is a good explanation on why companies list down "this and that" (to the point of being picky) as a part of their ads. Instead of blaming them for being discriminatory, you should focus on what you do best to make yourself more marketable in the industry that views your talent as gold.

But of course, we're not forcing you to side with us on this. We're entitled for our own views on how things work. What's your say re this topic? Drop a comment and we'll gladly share what we think to you.

BTW, if you're interested, you can read more from Sandra and Teong Wan here:

How to stay productive regardless of age - Ong Teong Wan

10 Steps in Creating an Outstanding Online Resume Singapore
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