As a career coach and resume writer for the past two+ decades, I’ve heard the same refrain from clients over the years… even those as young as 40-something, who fret that they are “too old.”
Age discrimination does exist and it can definitely affect careers. The Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 (ADEA) protects employees and job applicants who are 40+ from employment discrimination in hiring, firing, promotion, layoff, compensation, benefits, job assignments, and training.
However, as is often the case with discrimination of any type, it can be difficult to prove. Here are some positive steps you can take right now to minimize the effects of your age on your career and job search.
Tips to Position Yourself in a More Youthful Manner
To look and act younger, dress tastefully, but in newer styles, stay fit through exercise and diet, mingle with younger staff, learn about their world, and ask for their recommendations on new music, TV, and movies.
Keep up-to-date with new technologies, embrace social media, and be conversant with tech trends. Don’t be the “old fogey” in the office with the flip phone, who constantly complains about new technology.
Participate in activities related to your career field. Also, “get out there” and attend meetings and events. Young people are often in admiration of older colleagues who are active with high energy.
Be a “thought leader.” Upgrade your knowledge through courses, seminars, and conferences. Add these newer entries onto your resume in order to overshadow your older degrees. Read journals, magazines, and online newsletters.
Consider listing dates on your resume for the more recent jobs and drop off older positions altogether, or simply list them without the dates. However, be aware that HR managers can be suspicious of resumes omitting graduation dates, and might wonder if you are older than you actually are.
To appear younger, refrain from talking about “the old days.” Instead, describe a hiking trip you just took, new music you listened to, or a new movie you just saw, as opposed to pictures of the grandchildren or your latest medical issue.
Grant Cooper, New Orleans native & founder of Strategic Resumes®, won the national 2015 Career Directors International President’s Award at the CDI conference in Orlando, FL.
Grant has appeared as a career expert on CBS, ABC & FOX, has authored more than 200 media and journal articles, and has assisted the U.S. Air Force, Kinko’s, the Louisiana Dept. of Labor, the City of New Orleans, the NFL, the NBA, as well as universities, regional banks, celebrities, nonprofits, and major corporations nationwide.