Ashley Wilson
Community Specialist
Posted June 3, 2020

Tackle age discrimination while job searching

Age discrimination is real, and it can be hard to fight. Here's a few things you can do to stand out, no matter your age.
Ashley Wilson
Community Specialist
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Tackle age discrimination while job searching
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Age, as they say, is just a number, but is your age preventing you from landing a job? Here are some ways to tackle ageism head on!

Revise your resume

Make sure your resume is no more than two pages. Most recruiters will scan it in about 20-30 seconds, so shorter is key. Choose a traditional font, such as Times New Roman, in 9- to 12-point size, and avoid color or images.

Your resume should tell YOUR story, not just provide a list of job titles and dates. Highlight your accomplishments and work experience that is relevant to the job you are applying to. Match the experience and skills you include with the exact skills employers say they’re seeking in their job posting. Be sure to stick to the most recent years and avoid giving dates when it comes to decades-old experience.

Emphasize your capabilities

In place of emphasizing your length of experience during an interview, highlight the accomplishments you’ve achieved over the years, and demonstrate your worth. Be sure to show genuine excitement about the work that you do.

Instead of discussing how many years you’ve been in the field, say something like this: "I’m thrilled about the potential of being able to bring my skills to this company! I enjoy working within a dynamic team and collaborating with others who share my interest in this line of work.”

By mentioning some beneficial contributions and showcasing your loyalty it will make you more memorable to your potential employer.

If you’re not comfortable don't answer

Sometimes during an interview, uncomfortable questions about your age may come up. Unfortunately, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act does not prohibit an employer from asking about an applicant’s (or employee’s age), or from asking other questions that may help the employer determine your age such as when you graduated high school.

While it is currently legal for them to inquire, but it is 100% illegal for the employer to take that information and then discriminate based on your age. For example, saying something such as, “We are looking for a younger demographic for our company."

Luckily, if the question gets brought up, there are ways around it. Shift the focus away from age and focus on the skills and invaluable experience you bring.

Here are some examples:

"I am confident that my years of experience in this area, coupled with my continued passion for learning, will make me an asset to your team! Former employers have embraced age diversity and valued it. Am I correct to think that COMPANY X shares the same mindset?:

"Is there a concern about some skill sets or education related to this position? I am confident that my past experiences and accomplishments make me an ideal candidate for this role. I’d love to briefly highlight some recent projects to demonstrate my ability to succeed in this role."

Ideally, the interviewer will realize what they asked was inappropriate. How they react will also say a lot about the company’s philosophy on diversity and their overall work culture.

Show them you’re ready for the role

Staying up to date on current trends and technology is a great way to show that you’re “with the times.” It’s no secret that companies who have greater diversity in their employees evolve more rapidly and successfully. However, ageism is a real hardship that many of those in the workforce struggle with. Show them you’re just as knowledgeable as any other employee. By demonstrating that continued learning is a priority of yours makes you will become more hirable. Consider additional certifications you could earn and areas you can improve on.

Here are some great resources for expanding your skillset + staying up to date with current trends:

Have you ever faced age discrimination while looking for work?

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Ashley Wilson
Community Specialist
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Victor Guzman

Good person

1y
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Victor Guzman

$1

1y
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Laura Turner

Thank you for sharing!

1y
1
1
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Tammy Dexter

I’ve had clear age discrimination against me but it’s almost impossible to prove other than the tell tale questions they ask you and then after stressing how they absolutely require someone with the experience and education and then hire the twenty something with none of those.. how do you prove it even when it’s clear. Also, I did have a twenty something just out of college HR girl literally tell me that “I know what the company is looking for culture wise and they’re wanting someone younger to be able to mold” this was from one of the very large oil and gas company’s here in Houston which I won’t say the name however they are kind of named after an Indian Tribe..

1y
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Nora Sirin

What happen when discrimination is when you are working already?

1y
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A E Ryan

It’s better to start your own company or LLC after a certain age, say mid 30s-40s. You give yourself time for the learning curve and build something with greater growth potential and less hassle. Or rather, you get to solve the problems you chose to work on instead of office politics and discrimination.

1y
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NICK AQUILINO

There is a simple way that the companies will dodge the question and get the answer: they will ask for High School Graduation year or dates of College attendance, degree, year. It's an easy way to pretend that they aren't discriminating while doing it. I can't tell you how many times I have been turned down for the jobs that fit exactly with my qualifications -- obviously they find that older people are worthless. The prevailing attitude is that since young people are less rigid, they can be "molded" into the role. For some reason, they seem to think old people are more set in their ways -- but I can't understand why they don't see that young folks tend to be flaky, and will quit at a moment's notice to take a trip around Europe, or to test out life in another location, because of a new relationship, etc.

1y
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Sharon Starr

especially love it when an application asks when you graduated high school and it wont send unless answered. I have put in a fake date thinking if they found out, they shouldn't be asking. The reason why they ask is obvious and infuriates me

1y
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Sharon Starr

a potential employer out and out asked me how old I was. I replied "old enough and young enough".

1y
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Sandra Harris

Yes

25w
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