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How To Avoid Ageism In Your Job Search

Ageism in the work place is something that happens to people over 40 apparently. As someone who is 50 something, that seems very young.  Luckily for us, ageism is illegal, although in hiring it seems like it would be very hard to prove.

I read an nice research study on job search success that showed  overall that ageism exists. The study showed that that “best age to get a job is between 28 and 35.”  This study was done by a good job finder site that I have been impressed with. It does a great job of matching jobs with your uploaded resume. Much more accurate then the other job sites I have tried.

resume for fighting ageismOlder workers of course have a lot of experience in all aspects of life and have learned to moderate the quirks of their personality. Our overall knowledge peaks at about age 50 according to this article.

How To Minimize Ageism On Your Resume

OK, so you probably can’t avoid age discrimination altogether in your job search.  If someone consciously wants to discriminate, they will scour through your resume to look for signs of age. They can look at your photo on LinkedIn and guess your age there too (unless of course you have a photo of yourself at under age 40 like some older women do in the dating world!!).  Even if they can’t find signs of age before the interview, they can surely tell your age when they meet you in person unless you look much younger than you are.

1. no dates on the resume for old jobs and schooling

I am all about honesty and put all the dates on my resume when I started a recent job search.  I was told three times, once by a resume writer, once by a job counselor and once by the unemployment office, to leave off all dates other than my last job from my resume.  I have read similar things on the web.

2. last salary laws

My state recently made it illegal to screen resumes by your last salary. I imagine that this was partly to fight ageism. If the person has a higher salary this would probably indicate that they have more experience.

3. apply for jobs that match your experience

It is easy to apply for jobs these …click…click. This has led to a huge noise of people applying for jobs that they are not qualified for. Don’t add to the resume pollution!  Look at the description carefully and make sure it is adequately challenging for you.  I was told that for unemployment purposes I was not required to apply for jobs that were less than what I was qualified. So unless you can’t live on your unemployment, you didn’t qualify for it, and/or you don’t have adequate savings, hold out and apply for jobs where your experience is desired. Granted there are less of these jobs, but they are out there.

4. get plastic surgeryface lift

Just kidding on that one. But that is the advice some dating experts give to women over 40 who also have trouble finding a match.  When I went to the plastic surgery center to get some laser treatment for a mole that was bothering me, the technician told me that a lot of older men and women who were looking for jobs were coming in for touch ups. Please don’t do this.

More ideas for fighting age discrimination

Here are some references for fighting ageism in your job search. Best of luck!  Maybe the best idea is to start your own business and fight ageism with your own awesomeness!

Amazon books on ageism and finding a job


And just for laughs, here is Michael Scott’s (incorrect) take on agism


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1 Comment

  1. I think it helps to understand the Talent works service to interpret the data better.

    First when you sign up, you submit your resume. Then the online software gives you pointers to optimize your resume for keywords to get through the resume screener software (just like SEO!). Then it serves you up 5 jobs a day with a match percent, kinda like the eHarmony dating site.

    At this point you have a choice of hitting the auto apply button and it submits your resume and a form cover letter for you to all 5 jobs a day. Or you can manually apply to each one by reading the descriptions, looking up the company, and then hitting the Apply button. If you don’t think the job is a match you can decline it.

    Maybe young, female, grad students just don’t hit the auto apply button like the rest of the people.

    I’m not young, but I am female and went to grad school for 5 years. I have been using their service the last month and have only applied to about 1% of the jobs they served up so far.


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