Tackle age discrimination while job searching
Last updated: February 4, 2023
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Ashley Wilson
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Content Manager at Jobcase
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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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coral brune
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I don't know but some employers want older people, but not if it involves technology. Unless that's your specialty.

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Chester VANNORMAN
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Foreman at Aep River Operations

I went on an interview at Walmart a while back young lady hired me, and asked me to come back later so they could get me scheduled for a drug screen. When I returned the manager decided to reinterview me and said he wanted someone older who could teach the younger folks mind you I was 60.

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Hex hector Carrera
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Yes, I was discriminated by chipotle for my age. I was working for a month at a franchise in San Carlos ask for a transfer due to mother being sick to Modesto Stanislaus county and got approved once I got there face to face interview she said I didn't have what she was looking for of course I was too old for her I don't know what it was. Hector Carrera Jr.

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Steven Burrows
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Analytical Chemist

This is just a lot of bull. You can shuffle and tweak your resume until your fingers bleed onto your computer keyboard, and nothing will shield you from ageism in a hiring situation if that factor is important to the hiring manager/employer. No matter how 'positive' or 'up-to-date' your tech skills are, unless you made a Faustian pact with a supernatural agency for the appearance of eternal youth, you will eventually be identified as 'old' (i.e. above the employer's hiring max age).

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Gezel Dozier
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No, not Yet just really looking for a job Thank You For Your Advise.

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Tom Pointer
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Controller at Texas A M Concrete

All the time. Several years ago the HR Director for the City of Houston told me we do not hire because of age and she indicated that nothing she can do nothing because the supervisors make the decisions on hiring. I was well qualified as a Finance Director but having to put my birthdate and date I graduated, I was never interviewed So there is no protection for anyone older even if you are more qualified. Older people are not relevant. Even Exxon mobile in my applying for a job, deleted age as a discrimination prohibition in hiring.

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Cynthia Johnson
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Yes, companies now a days hold your severance package back unless you sign a huge letter stating you will not sue for any reason; included in the boiler plate language of the letter is a paragraph for “Age discrimination.” This is how they get around letting you go. Have spoken with so many people that have had this happen😔

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Roy Critchley
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Sr Administrative Assistant Mail Clerk Worleyparons

There are some employers who don't ask your age because all applications have date of Birth on them, it has been my experience that the interviewer will either say your overqualified (which is code for your to old) or they will say with all your experience, I'm just looking for this or that, or some will be honest with you and tell you they can't get your application past HR, because you should be making more money.

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DONOVAN SIMPSON
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Assistant Supervisor at Beacon Community

some employers really don't care about your age and some of them do I see it all the time even when you are qualified to do the job

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DesRae Strome
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Orthodontic Assistant at Pds

Thank you so much, but I think you misconstrued my question ( statement) I am gainfully employed.

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