Age Discrimination and the Over-50 Job Seeker

It violates a host of local, state, and federal laws, but age discrimination in hiring happens all the time. Employers are concerned that older candidates are out of touch with recent technological and business changes, will be resistant to change, and will have difficulty working for younger managers. There’s also a concern that older candidates will be more costly when it comes to salary and benefits. There are some things you can do, however, to dispel these concerns.

If you’ve been out of the job market for a few years, or if you’ve been in a dead-end job with limited opportunities to grow, do whatever it takes to bump-up your skillset. Take computer or industry-related courses, talk to people in your industry, learn the latest jargon, and familiarize yourself with information about companies, products, and services.

On the Resume

As a general rule, don’t go back more than 10 or 15 years on your resume (with a few exceptions, including some medical and academic CVs). Anything prior to that is usually outdated, so employers aren’t interested and it only dates you. You must include the dates of employment, but you don’t need to include the date(s) you attended or graduated from college, and if you have post-high school training, leave your high school education off entirely. If you worked for one company for 20 years or more, break it down by jobs, to be listed under the company, go back only 10 or 15 years, and put the dates by the jobs rather than the company. For example:

XYZ Company – City, State

Director of Purchasing (2008 to Present)
[Job description & achievements]

Assistant Director of Purchasing (2003 to 2008)
[Job description & achievements]

When it comes to education, include your recent training, and LEAVE OFF anything that goes back too far and is outdated. For example, if you earned a Data Processing Certification 25 years ago, it is completely irrelevant today. Focus on your more recent knowledge and training.

During the Interview

Present a positive and energetic appearance and indicate your willingness and adaptability (and past experience, if applicable) in working with people of all ages and backgrounds. Stress your experience, good judgment, and grace under pressure. These are valuable assets to any organization, and they often come only with age. When salary comes up, indicate that you are flexible and would be willing to negotiate within their range for the right opportunity.

~ Anne Follis, CPRW; 50+ and still going strong!

© Copyright 2011, Anne Follis. All Rights Reserved.

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