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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.

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.

  1. 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 While you’re at it, be sure that your resume doesn’t contain references to your proficiency in defunct or otherwise out-of-date technologies.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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)

Marissa Brassfield
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