Addressing Ageism in Your Job Search

I spend as much time as possible online, reading blogs and keeping a finger on the pulse of what I call the “career space.” Lately, on LinkedIn, the “Answers” in the “resume” section is populated with questions pertaining to ageism in the job hunt.

If Father Time is catching up with you, read on for some tips to consider for your job hunt…

This week, a question on LinkedIn reads:

A friend just confessed she is facing age discrimination when looking for a new job. She is very experienced, very professional, keeps in great shape and looks around 40 years old. But she’s in her early 50’s and since the CV precedes the interview, that is what a recruiter or HR person sees even before meeting her: HER AGE.

And that is enough to get her CV rejected.

My answer:

Yes, there is ageism. No question about it….More experience typically equals more pay, and if a company can get by with a less mature, less seasoned professional, why not?

However, the fact is, your friend cannot know for sure that age is what is preventing her from landing an interview…In my experience, the resume itself is often half of the problem, not the years of experience.

If I were to advise your friend, I would also suggest that she first ask a professional to evaluate her resume. If she is sending out the same thing and not getting results, it seems like a good time to take stock.

Once the resume is top notch, I would advise that she focus on growing her network.
Everyone should know that 80% of jobs are found via networking, and not all of those networking connections are “close” connections. Web 2.0 offers so many opportunities to grow a network and to demonstrate expertise…Job seekers should take advantage of them to stand out in a crowd!

While resumes need only demonstrate the last 10 or so years of work, taking years off of degrees is a bad idea. Face it – if there isn’t a year, won’t everyone reading it just assume your friend is older than her years?

Let’s assume that ageism, not a poor resume combined with ineffective job search strategies, is the problem. I’ve written about how to use your digital footprint to make yourself look younger. There is a link in the blog to a NYT article which has a great clip from the Today Show. You may be surprised at the control that you really have when you drive your own career bus!

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photo by aloofdork


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View Miriam Cohen Salpeter's profile on LinkedIn
September 2008
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