8 Ways to Combat Ageism While Searching for a Job

Little boy dressed in suit and tie in a commanding position.

The Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 (ADEA) was passed to protect workers from ageism in the workplace. But, unfortunately, this type of discrimination still occurs within organizations and, possibly even more so, within hiring practices today. Why? Because hiring discrimination is difficult to prove.

So, how can you fight age discrimination before a hiring manager, recruiter, or HR professional dismisses your candidacy based on your age? Here are 8 ways to combat ageism in your job search:

The Basics

1. Don’t Let Your Email Address Be The First Barrier.

It’s possible that, at some point in your life, you’ve created an email address using your birth year, graduation year, or some other significant date or year. Instead of using your johndoe1967@hotmail.com address when you’re on the job hunt, opt for a cleaner firstname.lastname@xxx.com address to utilize for professional purposes.

2. Dates of Graduation? Leave Them Off Your Resume.

There’s no need to share this information until it’s time for a background check. You’ve earned your degree (and maybe an even a higher level of education) so there’s no reason that the date of your graduation should hinder the possibility of you receiving an interview. The fix is simple – leave the dates of graduation off your resume.

3. Your Resume Is a Marketing Tool – Not An Autobiography.

This is where things can get tricky because you can’t skip the dates of employment on your resume – it would lead to all sorts of possible questions on the employer’s end. And, being that you have a lot of experience, you probably want to share it all with a potential employer. Here are some things you can do instead:

  • Only focus on the last 10-15 years
  • Showcase knowledge about the latest industry trends/topics
  • List up-to-date certifications
  • Demonstrate how you’ve become a leader in the space

The Details

4. Showcase Your Ability to Adapt.

Many employers look for employees who can work within tight deadlines, shift priorities quickly, and be flexible when it comes to their roles – especially, in the creative & marketing industries. Unfortunately, too many hiring managers adhere to stereotypes that older workers can’t be flexible and that can contribute to age discrimination. So, if flexibility is what hiring managers want to see, illustrate prior workplace scenarios where you’ve proved just how adaptable you can be!

5. Continue to Find New Ways to Grow & Develop.

If you can demonstrate how you’re able to keep up-to-date with the latest trends, skills, and topics in your space, you can show potential employers that you’re trainable and more than willing to sharpen and learn new skills. Consider yourself a life-long learner; keep reading, attending conferences, and finding opportunities for training.

6. Network, Network, Network!

When it comes to networking, you likely have the advantage over your younger industry peers. Over the years, you’ve probably connected with hundreds of professionals of all ages and backgrounds. One of these people may just lead you to the next perfect work opportunity!

7. Look for Opportunities Share Your Knowledge.

Sharing your knowledge can help you establish your reputation as an industry authority while increasing your professional value. Set yourself up to be an industry expert and find opportunities to:

  • Speak at local events
  • Be a guest blogger
  • Mentor younger workers in your field
  • Do some consulting

8. Believe Your Experience is an Advantage – Not a Liability.

So what – you’re “seasoned!” Your level of experience can be a secret weapon if you know how to wield it properly. Leverage your knowledge to show employers how you can be the resident expert, leader, and mentor in their department. Help illustrate the value you can bring to their team all the while proving that you can still learn new skills and be an adaptable and flexible team member.

Looking for more information on overcoming barriers to your job search? Check out the Celarity Blog’s Career Advice and Job Seeker categories!

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