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How to Conquer Age Discrimination and Get Your Dream Job

Updated on July 1, 2020
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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 people to look beyond your age and hire you if they are not a fan of how old you are. Interviewers may give you plenty of excuses why you are not suited for the job even though the true reason could be -- in their eyes -- your advanced age.

Guess Your Age from 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 requires. Of course there are many excuses potential employers may use to keep from hiring you. But the true reason may simply be your age.

Do you remember those school exercise problems where 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 including your high school graduation date. Simply by taking in account the year you graduated from high school, and comparing it to the current year, hiring officials can guess your age and will probably get it right.

As an 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 2020. You subtract the current year, 2020 from 1994, when you graduated from high school and you get 26 years. Now add 17 (the age you graduated from high school and the result is 43 (26 + 17 = 43).

So based on your high school graduation date, you are 43 years old, probably competing with 21 year old millennials possibly just out of college who could be hired at a much lower salary than you.

Keep Your Age Private

How do you keep your age private when writing your resume? Simply leave out your high school graduation date. If you have a college degree or college credits, you can omit your high school graduation year altogether.

In fact, when writing your resume, try not to show your chronological date work history where you divulge the date of your high school graduation, college, and so on to the jobs you have had until the current date. 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 from date information is to have a task, or project-type based resume instead of a chronological date-driven one. In other words, list 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.

The above being said, this is the internet age where your name can be googled and your age may show up. This is possible; however, don't make it easy for potential employers to discriminate by volunteering date information on your resume.

Downplay Dates on Your Resume

Suppose you are completing an automated resume online that requires your high school graduation date. 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 tackle this dilemma. 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 recent classes. Adding current training dates shows the potential employer that you are still highly employable and ready to take on and learn new job skills.

If you have not by chance taken any recent courses, perform 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 so you can enter current training dates on your resume. By the way, you can matriculate a class by just attending as an observer notwithstanding the current COVID-19 environment where social distances are being required for everyone's protection.

List online courses on your resume but only if you can correlate them to the skills required for the job. If you are taking courses that offer certifications, by all means make sure you list these on your resume as well.

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.

Write 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. Resumes may be submitted online, by mail and even by just walking into the business. Do not overlook the internet recruiters as well as links to the specific job site 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 send 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.

Be aware that some companies use software to scan your resume before a human reviews it.

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 software to scan your resume before a human reviews it. That is why it is important to use key words and tailor your resume to the particular job you are applying for.

Do not use the same generic resume and routinely send it out to different companies. You must read each job opening that describes the skills, etc. the position requires, and make sure you are again, using key words (without copying the job duties) that match those in the job opening announcement when you compose and submit your resume.

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 right 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," or "You can's teach an old dog new tricks." Being set in your ways and refusing to learn new skills are not paths you can follow to conquer age discrimination in the job market. By looking confused, bedazzled or overwhelmed by computers and technology, you may be feeding the flame with fire, and making it difficult for others who really want to not only learn new technology, but to go a step further to embrace it.

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

Age Discrimination Poll

Have you or do you know someone who has been discriminated due to their age when seeking employment.

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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. Hopefully your enthusiasm will show that you are ready for new job opportunities when you network -- regardless of your age.

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

Keep a Positive Outlook

During the job hunting process and beyond, always keep and retain a positive outlook. Be confident of the value you can add to companies 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 companies and businesses. Let this attribute be visible on your resume and demonstrate these desirable job traits 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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