Fight Age Discrimination in Your Job Hunt – Manage Your Digital Footprint

You thought social media was for the “kids?” Blogging, Twitter, Facebook…You don’t have time to engage online with a bunch of people – you’re busy with your job hunt! Think again!

Yesterday, I posted about the value of social networking for the job seeker. Then, as I usually do, I went through my blogroll to see what’s out there in the career space. Coincidentally, Marci Alboher’s blog for the New York Times, Shifting Careers, reminded readers of another great benefit of getting involved with social media such as blogging, Twitter, Facebook, linkedin, etc. It can help keep you looking young in a job market with a tendency to discriminate against older workers.

If you haven’t looked for a job in a while and/or aren’t tuned in to managing your “digital footprint” – what comes up when someone “Googles” your name – it’s time for a quick lesson in social media. The long and the short of it is this: an online presence is key to how people will perceive you. Especially if you are in a “young” industry that discriminates against workers over 40, appearing connected to new ways of presenting yourself (your brand, as it were), may help you open doors that seemed closed.

Take a look at Marci’s blog…It tells the story of a 49-year old entertainment reporter who remade her image by freshening up her appearance and wardrobe and creating a hip online presence that made her seem younger than would belie her 20 years of industry experience. She hired people to help her, which is a great idea, but Marci points out that asking fashion conscious friends and teenagers (your children or others’) for advice and information about trends and technology is another option.

The key factor is, no matter how much experience you have, it is important to keep up with what is going on in today’s job market. Video resumes, Wikis, video conferencing, Second Life, podcasts…Job seekers should be aware of these technologies and willing to use them! Be resourceful and aware – you may be surprised to learn that Web 2.0tools can be a lot of fun and helpful beyond networking and job seeking. (Be sure to let me know when you start using a Wiki to plan your next potluck!)

Facing discrimination in your job hunt? We can write your resume to make you look younger. Need help navigating social media and online networking? Keppie Careers is here for you!

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photo by Sarah Camp

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4 Responses to “Fight Age Discrimination in Your Job Hunt – Manage Your Digital Footprint”


  1. 1 Walter Akana July 15, 2008 at 10:44 am

    Great post, Miriam. I wholeheartedly agree. A social media presence not only helps you look young, but also equips you with powerful tools to expand your network. I’d only add that it’s important to make sure your messages across these media are professional and convey your unique promise of value (a.k.a., personal brand).

  2. 2 Miriam Salpeter July 15, 2008 at 9:16 pm

    Walter – Thanks for your comment. You are right – it isn’t all about working the system to look young – Social media tools are dynamic and great for connecting and learning what is “out there” in anyone’s profession. Yes – the message must be “on brand!” It’s great that I have great personal branding experts in my network to point out the PB issues!

  3. 3 jmt September 12, 2008 at 1:08 pm

    VP’s..However, when they meet you in person, the meeting is stellar and they promise to fly you in for further conversations and meetings, then you never hear back from them… what then?

    I am 61 with an International Sales/Channel/ Business Development Management background and superior success in the computer industry.

    Personally, people tell me I do not look old and dress as professionally as possible. I know I don’t bark like a dog, or grunt, so why do I find myself waiting for the information on the next meeting, sending follow-up e-mails, phone calls and just being blown off?

    All I can think is that the thirty-something’s interviewing just do not want to hire a 61 year old woman…. would they do this to a man?
    Would they at least give a professional courtesy of a phone call or e-mail to a MAN?

  4. 4 Miriam Salpeter September 12, 2008 at 3:47 pm

    JMT – It is very unfortunate if your potential employers aren’t responding to your follow-up after otherwise good conversations. I have heard many stories from people similar to yours – both men and women.

    If this is a common theme in your job hunt, I would suggest a focused evaluation as to how you are getting to a point where you are not hearing back. Maybe there is something that you are overlooking and a change would result in a favorable outcome.

    Good luck!


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