Facing Age Discrimination? Be Prepared If You’re Over (Or Under) A Certain Age
One of the issues often raised when a group of job seekers gets together is the question of age discrimination.
Several years ago, I was invited to be a guest at Platform to Employment a program that was developed by The Workplace to address the needs of the long-term unemployed.
Originally launched in Connecticut, the program has had such great success that it was expanded to ten other cities in early 2014. You may have seen it featured on 60 Minutes.
Several days before my visit, I received a list of questions that the group was hoping I could answer from the recruiter’s perspective. Not surprisingly, a number of the questions addressed the problem of age discrimination.
Here are a few of the things I learned while working as a recruiter.
How To Prevent Screaming “I’m Old” During Your Job Search
Resume writers are often asked about the prevalence of age discrimination. As I’ve mentioned in earlier posts, serious concerns begin around age 55, but some people, particularly my female friends, tell me they begin to feel it in their mid-forties.
Yes, age discrimination is out there. But there are many other reasons why candidates don’t get hired.
The interviewer may think you are too young or too forward-thinking or too laid back. She may dislike you because you remind her of a former boss or spouse she doesn’t like.
We all have conscious and unconscious biases.
You can’t control other people’s bias, but you can eliminate things that make you look old and/or dated. Here are 5 things to change today.
#1 Have a Modern Email
Using an @aol or @yahoo email address makes you look like you’re stuck in 1995. Keep those addresses for family and friends but choose something more current like @gmail for your job search. Never use your company’s email to contact recruiters, resume writers, career coaches, etc.
Many employers monitor employee email accounts, and they have the legal right to do so.
Include your email address in LinkedIn About section to make it easy for recruiters and employers to contact you. If your job search is confidential you can include a statement like “always interested in connecting with like-minded people” or “always happy to connect with clients and colleagues” as well.
If you’re unemployed, you can include a pitch for hiring you.
Does Your LinkedIn Profile Make You Look Out Of Sync?
Anyone who’s looking for a new job has been told they need to be on LinkedIn. That’s true.
It’s also true that you need to be LinkedIn even if you’re not looking. Whether you like it or not, your LinkedIn profile, or lack of one, is part of your personal brand.
Certainly, recruiters and hiring managers who receive your resume will review your LinkedIn profile. So will people that you meet at conferences, seminars, or networking events who want to learn more about you. Make sure what they find is your best self.
That includes having a head shot.
I know there are people who resist putting up a head shot because they’re afraid of discrimination. Yes, it’s out there. There are people who will think you’re too old or too young. Too ethnic or not ethnic enough. They may take an instant dislike to you because you remind them of a former boss or a neighbor they don’t like.
However, the benefits far outweigh the potential risks.
Despite its business focus, LinkedIn is considered social media. LinkedIn’s research shows that LinkedIn profiles with a photo get 21X more views and 9X more connection requests.
How Not To Look Old When You’re Looking For A Job
Job seekers begin to worry about age discrimination as early as their mid-forties. Serious concerns begin around 55. And the truth is, age discrimination or ageism is out there.
There are a lot of reasons, not related to skills, that people don’t get hired. They may be considered too young or, in some cases, the wrong gender.
They may not get the job because, subconsciously, they remind the interviewer of a former boss they despised.
Conscious and unconscious biases exist.
While you can’t control them, you don’t have to feed into them either.
If you’re concerned about age discrimination, do what you can to not look old and outdated during your job search.