Here are the cold, hard facts. With our aging demographic and about 20% of our workforce being 55 or older, age discrimination is just a reality of life. Actually, age discrimination isn’t limited to older workers and also affects workers in their late 30s and 40’s. It isn’t right or fair, to be sure, and there are laws in place to protect against age discrimination. However, if an employer wants to hire a younger applicant for whatever reason, s/he can easily come up with a good rationale or justification for not hiring older job applicants. This is probably not what you wanted to hear but as the saying goes, “It is what it is”.
And, of course, age discrimination doesn’t just occur during the interview and hiring process. Older workers also encounter age discrimination when not getting a promotion they were qualified for, being laid off as part of a RIF, offered early retirement buyouts, suddenly getting poor annual performance reviews, or when getting a lower than the average raise, just to name a few obvious scenarios.
There is lots of information, tips and advice available on the Internet and in books on how to “age-proof” your resume, or how you may be able to minimize being discriminated against because of your age. I’ll just mention a few since you’re probably expecting to see such suggestions in a blog post about age discrimination.
· Limit your work experience to about 15 years, even less if you’re in a high-tech career
· Leave your high school or college graduation dates off your resume
· Switch to using a functional resume rather than a traditional chronological resume
· Don’t talk up all your experience, only your relevant experience
· Talk about your use or familiarity with technology and social media platforms
· Bring up examples of your adaptability and flexibility
Workplace discrimination laws generally apply to employers of a certain size and many small companies, think “mom and pop” type of businesses, are often exempt. For more information on the laws related to age discrimination, consult an employment attorney or start by visiting the websites below. Most states also have agencies you can contact about workplace discrimination issues.