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 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.

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