Challenging Assumptions when Job Hunting

A participant on an employability skills training webinar once said they didn’t think that individuals should put their LinkedIn picture profile online, in case of discrimination for your ethnic background. When LinkedIn first arrived on the scene, that thought also crossed my mind, but I decided to post my picture anyway. An employer is going to see what you look like at interview, so if there happens to be an employer who screens a person out based on their ethnicity — which they shouldn’t be doing under the Equality Law 2010 — then I can’t see any advantage of hiding my image from social media, just so that I can get to the next stage and then be rejected by a discriminatory employer. I wouldn’t want to work for that employer anyway.

One of the most frequent concerns raised in my coaching sessions is the fear of being seen as too old. With each year that passes we are only going to get older, so the concern about being too old will stay with you for the rest of your life, unless you choose to shift your thinking. The fear of being judged by potential employers for being too old helps to perpetuate concerns about the older workforce, and I believe that if enough people take personal responsibility to own their age, then we can begin shifting antiquated assumptions. There are times we have to challenge old assumptions, as we evolve and educate ourselves to adapt to changing times. LGBT rights only became prominent in recent decades with same sex marriage legalised in 2014 in England. It is only when enough people stand up for what they believe to be right and challenge prejudices and old stereotypes that we can begin moving towards a more inclusive future.

Don’t put yourself in a box. If you choose to be, take a stand for who you are and be visible.

Josie Davies is a Career Coach supporting people going through life transitions with more calm and ease.