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Career and job search help for creative professionals.

Blue Sky Resumes is a small team of professional writers and job search experts. We offer one-of-a-kind resumes, smart career advice and fantastic customer service. This is our blog.


Age Discrimination Isn’t About Age


If you’re over 40, it’s natural to worry about age discrimination – after all, that’s the age at which you start to be protected against discrimination by Federal law and even if you don’t look your age, you might be starting to feel it now and then. (Maybe you’ve noticed you can’t stay up as late as you used to, or maybe you caught yourself making that noise your dad makes when he up from the chair!) So you’re feeling a bit older than you’d like and now you have to look for a job.

The good news is that age discrimination isn’t about age. It’s about all the things that people associate with growing older. Like getting slower. Being less healthy than a younger person. Falling behind the latest technology advancements. It’s usually not that Manager X doesn’t want any 50 year-olds in his company – it’s abut the fact that Manager X has a bunch of stereotypes in his head about what being 50 means and it’s those stereotypes he wants to avoid.

Once you understand this, there are all kinds of things you can do to ensure that age isn’t an issue on your resume.

My Tips for Minimizing Age Discrimination

Think they might worry you’re behind the times technologically? Show them that you’re not. Include URLs to social networking profiles such as LinkedIn and Twitter. Set up a personal website using a tool like Weebly.com or Visual CV and then add the URL to your resume.

When it comes to fighting the perception of ill health or lack of energy, I recommend adding any hobbies that are sports-related or require high energy. For example, one former client included his experience running marathons and riding in long bicycle races. Another included yoga as a hobby.

Finally, consider leaving older experience off your resume to prevent people from guessing your age. For example, you might want to omit jobs that go back more than 10 years.

Note: If this experience is important to your sales message – maybe because it directly relates to what you want to do next or includes a banner name company in your industry – you don’t have to eliminate it. Instead start a new section of your resume called “early experience” and simply omit dates of employment in this section. (By starting the new section, you give yourself permission to change the format in this way.)

None of these techniques will change your age but all of them will change the all-important perception of your age and that is all you need to do.

Read more about Job Search, Resume Writing.

Blue Sky Resumes

About the Author

Louise Fletcher

Louise co-founded Blue Sky in 2002 after a career as an HR executive. Her industry experience includes music, video games, fashion and advertising. She lived and worked in the US for many years, but moved back to her native UK in 2012, where she now lives in the Yorkshire countryside. In addition to her full-time role with Blue Sky, she's a professional artist, so you can imagine why she couldn't answer the 'what do you do with your free time' question! Contact Louise by email.

4 comments on “Age Discrimination Isn’t About Age”

  1. Rebeca says:

    Hello – I found you through the 31DBBB and wanted to say that while we aren’t in the same niche, your content came in really handy for me to share with someone in my life currently in this type of situation. Hope the 31Day is going well for you.

    @rebecatrautner

  2. Ritchie Castree-Croad says:

    This is so true. Many of my clients say things like “well if they discriminate on age, I don’t want to work there.” But this assumes employers are even aware they are discriminating. Often it’s their unarticulated beliefs that direct their actions. They see 20 years of work history and they think of dull old Uncle Dave who has a negative attitude and no motivation. Restructering your resume will help them to think of you…rather than the mental image they have of a stereotype.

  3. tony yaniz says:

    I actually have a question.

    We play in an Over 40 softball league. Many of the players also play in the regular Men’s league. The president of that league now wants to make his league an Under 40 league to exclude the players in the Over 40 League Can he do that?

    Thanks

    Tony

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