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4 Ways to Fight Back Against Age Discrimination

It's a sad fact that unemployed older workers have a tougher time finding a new gig than younger jobseekers, and in a new column for U.S. News and World Report, Arnie Fertig offers four tips that those of a certain age can use to fight back against age discrimination. By recognizing the stereotypes that lead to age discrimination in the first place, experienced professionals can brainstorm ways to set themselves apart from the pack.

  • Keep your skill set current. We're never too old to learn. Head back to school for some correspondence courses, or obtain the latest certifications and credentials relevant to your line of work. If you're employed, ask your boss to recommend relevant training courses, and take them. While you're at it, be sure that your resume doesn't contain references to your proficiency in defunct or otherwise out-of-date technologies.
  • Watch your language. Employers aren't permitted to ask about your age in a job interview, but you may unwittingly date yourself in your resume, cover letter or interview. If you'd rather not highlight your age, avoid telling statements like, "20 years of experience in customer service." Instead, Fertig recommends that you focus on the specific duties and responsibilities at your most recent position that pushed the company forward.
  • Be active. It might be beneficial to add a Personal Interest section to your resume -- ideally, one filled with hobbies and activities that denote a vibrant lifestyle. Additions like community volunteering and sports participation are just some of the subtle ways you can infer that you're mentally and physically fit.
  • Focus on recent history. Fertig recommends limiting your resume to the last eight to 12 years, adding the following statement: "Details of prior professional experience available upon request."
  • What strategies would you recommend to fight back against age discrimination?

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    (Photo credit: Kheel Center at Cornell University/Flickr)

    2 Comments

    1. 2 Rob 08 Aug

      I have to agree that it is virtually impossible to hide a lifetime of experience on a CV.

      That said, when it comes to hiring I tend to take the opposite view and hire older - they tend to be more reliable and you can have a serious discussion on professional matters without it getting personal.

    2. 1 Jim 08 Aug
      Recruiters always ask for an applicant's dates of graduation and employment. Leaving those dates out of your resume is a big signal to employers.  So is only putting recent experience.  If a senior manager lists only recent senior level jobs does anyone really think employers are going to believe that your first job out of college was CFO?  Even if you trick an employer into thinking you are 20 years younger, what do you think the reaction will be when you show up for the interview?  Age and experience are positive, not negative factors.  Why hide good experience?  Besides, does an older want to work for en employer who hates old people?

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