Age may be nothing but a number, but sometimes it can really matter when you are job hunting. Although age discrimination has been illegal since 1967, according to AARP, two out of three workers between ages 45 and 74 say they have witnessed or have actually experienced age discrimination at work.
In fact, in 2016 Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) received 20,857 charges of age discrimination.
So what are the signs you have been a victim of ageism during your job hunt? “Many times, the signs could be that the candidate is perfectly qualified for the position and checks off all the boxes, but they don’t even get a call,” explains Certified Professional Career Coach Sharon DeLay of GO HR.
There are things you can do to avoid being a victim of ageism during a job search. “Only put the last 15 years of experience on a resume. Same for your LinkedIn profile,” offers DeLay. “Take off education dates from resume and social media. Have a professional photo on your LinkedIn profile that looks polished and current.” According to some career experts, if you have graduated college more than 25–30 years ago, it’s a wise move to omit your graduation dates from your resume. Being up on the latest office technology as well as tuned in to current cultural trends is very important.
Do your research on a company’s culture before approaching them about a position. Company review sites such as kununu and Glassdoor may give you some insight on the company and their feelings about older employees.
Also, get out to networking events. Talking to other job seekers can also help you better understand which companies are best to apply to.
During your interview, you might want to stress the benefits of hiring experience, says David Miklas, an attorney in Port St. Lucie, Florida, who specializes in labor and employment. “Older applicants can explain to hiring officials the benefits of hiring older workers include greater professionalism, stronger work ethic, greater reliability, high engagement and low turnover. When an employer has an age diverse workforce, it actually improves productivity and performance; older workers believe in the value to committing to an employer and are much more likely to stick around rather than their Millennial counterparts,” explains Miklas of the Law Office of David Miklas.
If you feel a company has discriminated against you during the job search process because of your age, you can file a complaint with the EEOC.