Dealing with Age Discrimination During Job Searches: What to Do

When re-entering the workforce past the age of 40 or 50, you might feel self-conscious about being able to find a new position in a timely manner. In addition to your own insecurities, you may fear age discrimination where managers are less likely to hire you because of your age. What can you do?

Know What's Lawful

Before sitting down for interviews, you should know what's lawful for a manager to ask you. In many cases, questions about your specific age are in fact not legal. Comments about how old you are could also be problematic. You might want to discuss age discrimination with an attorney before meeting with interviewers just to get some ideas about what's legal and how you should respond to troublesome questions regarding your age.

Focus on Experience, Not Dates

Resumes have not changed much since you originally entered the job market. However, to reduce the chance that your age will come up, ensure that your resume focuses on experience and skills, not dates. Many older people use a chronologically based resume; look for resume templates you can use that detail the same information but instead showcase what you know and what you've done.

Learn Something New

To show that you're still following the industry you work in, look for ways to acquire new and trending skills. If you're a programmer, for instance, you should know about the newest languages and should have projects in your portfolio that show off your expertise with the newest platforms.

Consider a Makeover

You may resist the idea that you need to change your appearance to get a job; shouldn't your work be enough? While your skills should be the priority when an interviewer is considering you, remember that companies have worked hard to cultivate their brand. The closer you can fit into the brand and culture of an industry, the more likely you are to be positively received. Don't let your own insecurities about being out of a job cause you to become overly suspicious; be honest with yourself about how you're looking these days. You may think that companies are taking your age into consideration, but they could be forming opinions based on your outdated haircut or unstylish wardrobe. Consider giving yourself a little makeover and updating your look. You may love your new look, and your confidence and happiness should come across better in interviews.

When you're aware of and challenge age discrimination, you're more likely to find a position where you're appreciated. If you suspect that you're encountering trouble because someone is discriminating against you, discuss what's occurred with an age discrimination lawyer.