Deepak Gupta Lead Generation

Michael Trust

As you may know, federal law protects job seekers and employees who are  40 years old and older. This protection falls under the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA).  As a job seeker, it can be very hard to prove age discrimination. A savvy employer knows how to run a recruitment and selection process that will stand up to scrutiny.  Having said that, what are some tips that a job seeker over 40 can use to minimize discrimination taking place? Below are some ideas:

  • Ensure that unless absolutely necessary, no work experience goes back more than 10 years. What does “absolutely necessary” mean? It means that if you had a role or job longer than 10 years ago that is germane to the position for which you’re applying, consider adding it to your resume. To do this without exposing dates (and thus your probable age), you might have to change the resume format that you’re using.
  • Ensure that all dates of education are removed from your resume. If your educational institution has changed names, you can note that the name is now changed (e.g.: ABC University (know known as XYZ University).  A recruiter who has the time and inclination could search on the old name to discern when the name changed, and then extrapolate your age since you received your diploma, certificate, etc. prior to the name change. Most aren’t really going to bother.
  • If you have changed careers or had significant shifts in your career, consider using a resume format that does not highlight by date (e.g.: chronological) these changes and/or shifts.
  • Look at your online profile to see if you’re doing any of the above; if so, consider changing your profile(s).
  • The debate about gray hair can go either way: as the famous men’s’ hair care product commercial expounds, “a little gray shows experience; too much gray shows age”.  This is probably sage advice. Use your judgment.
  • Make sure that on your resume and in your vocabulary, you are using current technical business, information technology, marketing, etc. terms. Nothing screams “outdated” as much as using outdated terminology.
  • Show enthusiasm. Many job seekers who are older have become set in their ways or used to doing things in a certain way. That’s not always a bad thing. However, if the potential employer wants a “go getter”, show yourself to be one. Be ready with work stories that demonstrate this.
  • Make sure that your manner of dress is current, and that you are in reasonable shape. While many medical conditions can cause obesity or edema or other things that are less than attractive to an employer (rightly or wrongly), and are often protected by either state or federal laws(or both), why set yourself up to give the employer an easy way to say “no” if you don’t have to?  Most employers aren’t going to take the time to determine if there is a “protected” characteristic; they are just going to move on to the next candidate and the impression that you leave could be one of “if this person doesn’t care enough to take care of themselves, why should I believe that they’ll take care of their role in my organization?”.
  • Make sure that you are totally up to date with current technologies and/or business methods in your field. It’s the first thing employers are likely to wonder about – make it easy for them to select you “in” rather than select you “out”.

This list is by no means exhaustive, but intended to give you an idea of challenges that older job seekers face (and yes, I’m in this over 40 group J).

Michael Trust, MPA, SPHR-CA, is a Certified Career Coach and a Certified Executive Career Coach, who helps people find their passion and fulfill their dreams as they relate to careers through his organization, Trustworthy Coaching®,  Mr. Trust’s Coaching, Business, and Human Resources experience spans twenty years, and he has had major roles in staffing in all of his Human Resource positions. In addition, he has coached individuals at all career levels relative to their career paths, job search strategies, business strategies, and related areas. Mr. Trust is also a member of the International Coach Federation (ICF).

Copyright © 2011, Trustworthy Coaching®.  All Worldwide Rights Reserved.

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