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How to Get Your Dream Job At Any Age Amidst Age Discrimination

Updated on January 17, 2018
Age discrimination is prevalent in the workplace.
Age discrimination is prevalent in the workplace.

Age Discrimination in the Workplace

Unfortunately, when you look for a job, age can be a negative factor, even though there are anti-age discrimination laws. There is no way to force someone to look beyond your age and hire you when you are interviewed for a job. The interviewer can tell you a plenty of reasons why you are not suited for the job even though the true reason could be your advanced age.

"Age Guessing" on Your Resume

Let's imagine you have your resume complete and ready to be submitted; however, based on past experiences you suspect that you may not be considered for this job because of your age. You may have been told that you are "overqualified" for jobs in the past, which is another way of saying that you are too old for the position, or maybe the job and your extensive experience do not match the skills the job require. Of course there are many excuses potential employers may use to keep from hiring you. But the true reason may simply be your age.

Did you enjoy problem solving in school? Remember problems where you were given a scenario, as well as a conclusion, but you had to figure out how the answer was reached. Alternately, some problems just gave you the scenario, and you had to figure out the correct conclusion. Similarly, a potential employer may look at your resume and be able to tell your age by taking a quick glance at your work history. Simply by taking in account the year you graduated from high school, and comparing it with the current year, an hiring official can take a quick guess at your age and will probably get it right.

For example, suppose you graduated from high school in 1994. The normal graduation age is 17 or 18, depending on when you have your birthday. The current year is 2018. You subtract the current year, 2018 from 1994, when you graduated from high school and you get 24 years. Now add 17 (the age you graduated from high school ), and the result is 41 (24 + 17 = 41). So based on your high school graduation date, you are 41 years old, probably competing with 21 year old millenniums possibly just out of college who could be hired at a much lower salary than you. See how easy it is to eliminate yourself from job consideration, simply by including your high school graduation date in your resume?

How do you keep your age to yourself when writing a resume? Simply leave out your high school graduation date. In fact, when writing your resume, deter from the chronological date-driven type work history where you start from the date of your high school graduation, college, and so on to the jobs you have had until the current date. It may be interesting and fun for you to go down memory lane, but your goal is to get a job interview and maybe a job -- not to be entertained by your memories. The rule of thumb is to include at least ten years of previous work experience and make sure your work experience is pertinent to the job opening.

The easiest way to eliminate the prospect of having the employer calculate your age is to have a task, or project-type based resume instead of a chronological one. In other words, you discuss the companies you worked for previously, in no particular order, without including dates concentrating on your accomplishments. Be sure to tie in your responsibilities with the requirements for the job you are applying for.

Crafting an Impressive Resume

Regardless of your age, you must start your job search with an impressive resume. Resumes have been around for a long time as a means for employers to decide who to hire as well as who not to hire for a position. Resumes may be submitted online, by mail and even by just walking in the business. Do not overlook the internet as well as the various mail services as ways to get your resume in the right hands.

Remember, there is power in numbers. Sometimes the key to landing your dream job is to send out a multitude of resumes. In other words, you would be playing the numbers' game of sending out resumes en masse to increase your chances of getting the job, or at least an interview.

I will not discuss the mechanics of how you should write your resume in detail. There are numerous resources in the library, book stores, online and elsewhere that you can use to get detailed information on how to write your resume. There are even pay-for-fee resume services where you actually pay someone to write your resume for you.

Instead of discussing resume writing, I would like to give you some tips on how to write your own resume when age is a factor, especially if you think you may be discriminated because of it. The focus of this article is for those who may not get job interviews and subsequently jobs due to their advanced age.

Write Your Resume with Your Age in Mind

When you think of art, you may envision visiting a museum, admiring the paintings of well-known artists as well as painters from long ago. While at the museum, do you stay for long hours at a time looking at the same painting repeatedly? Probably not. More than likely, you look at the painting, admire the intricacies and beauty of it and continue to the next painting exhibit. However, before you leave the museum, you may want to go back and take another look at that particular painting, just one more time to revel in its beauty.

Use the "museum" analogy described above when you write your resume. You want to hold the attention of whoever is reading your resume plus you want them to return later to take another look at your resume after reviewing the others because it stood out from all the rest.

Be aware that some companies use resume software to scan your resume, before a human looks at it. That is why it is important to tailor your resume to the particular job you are applying for. Do not use a generic resume that you routinely send out to different companies. You must read each job opening that describes the skills, etc. the position requires, and make sure you are putting in key words (without copying the job duties) when you compose and submit your resume.

Age Discrimination Poll

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Be Technology Savy

Computers and technology are mainstays in businesses. The worst thing you can do is to come across as being uncomfortable, or leery of new technology. Realize that it is up to you to adapt and change to meet the growing demands of a computer-based world.

Have you noticed that people of a certain age are stereotyped when it comes to technology. There is a viral youtube video where the grandmother is recording her grandchild at a soccer game and is told by a younger person that she was really recording herself because she had not made the adjustment on her phone. Unfortunately, sometimes one example of misunderstanding technology stands out and is used unfairly to stereotype all older people.

There is also a stereotype that older people are not eager to learn new job skills. Have you heard the phrase, "He or she is set in her ways." Being set in your ways is no way to conquer age discrimination in the job market. Instead you may be feeding the fire, and making it difficult for others who really want to not only learn new technology, but want to go even further and embrace it.

If you are not comfortable with computers, take beginning classes, or other training to get you ready and prepared for the job market.

Embrace technolgy to disspell stereotypes about the older worker.
Embrace technolgy to disspell stereotypes about the older worker.

Downplay Dates on Your Resume

Suppose you are completing an automated resume online that requires you input your high school graduation date. From the looks of things, there is no way to get around with omitting the date. For example, you may receive error messages stating this information is mandatory before you can proceed further in completing your resume online.

There is still a way to come out ahead. Without telling any untruths, if you have recently taken college courses, even it they are specialty subject driven, make sure you include those dates in your resume. Hopefully you have taken classes within recent years that are not too far back in the past that they will date you. The computer is looking for dates and is not smart enough to determine which date is appropriate. Additionally, when you add current training dates, the potential employer may get the perception that you are still highly employable and ready to take on and learn new job skills.

If you haven't taken any recent courses, do an internet search on training courses. There are many courses available online, as well as at your local colleges and universities. Take and complete some of these courses until you feel comfortable around computers and technology. By the way, you can matriculate a class by just attending as an observer. List these courses on your resume as well but only if you can correlate them to the training required for the job. If you are taking courses that offer certifications, by all means make sure you list these on your resume also. Your goal is to post current and recent training dates on your resume. Most interviewers just scan over your resume. You do not want old dates to stand out or catch his or her attention. Use recent training dates on your resume and leave off those that are old and dated.

The Value of Networking

I would be amiss not to include the importance of networking. Get the word out that you are in the job market. Who knows? You may get your dream job by talking to all the right people. There are many success stories of people who have obtained jobs simply by networking.

Have a Positive Outlook

Regardless of your age, keep and retain a positive outlook. Be confident that you know the value you can add to a company based on your vast amount of experience as well as your eagerness and willingness to learn new skills and technology. Based on your wealth of knowledge, you can contribute a lot to a company or organization. Let this attribute be visible on your resume and be sure you point them out during your job interview.

Full Steam Ahead

Go out there in the job market, full steam ahead and obtain that dream job of yours regardless of your age. It is yours for the taking.

How to Overcome Age Discrimination in Job Interview


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