Despite its illegality, age discrimination still occurs during the hiring process, and if you are an older worker, being proactive is the best way to ensure you get fair treatment. It is important to stay positive and focus on your strengths during your job search. Here are five quick tips to ensure age discrimination doesn't keep you from getting the job you deserve.
1. Know Your Rights
The Age Discrimination in Employment Act makes it illegal for employers to discriminate against those age 40 or older when making hiring decisions. Prospective employers cannot ask about your age or for other information that might signal that you are an older worker. Keep an eye out for signs of discrimination, and refuse to answer questions that might make you a target. Take a close look at your resume, and make sure it doesn't include any references to your age or stage of life. If you see open signs of age discrimination at any point during the hiring process, call the organization out, and consult a human resources specialist or lawyer, if necessary, to assert your rights.
2. Focus on the Positive
Although it's good to know your rights regarding age discrimination, it's also a good idea to expect the best. Make sure you present your strengths instead taking a defensive attitude. You need to sell yourself to get hired, so let employers know what a great asset you'd be to their organizations. As an older worker, you likely have maturity and wisdom that younger workers might lack. You have also had more time to acquire knowledge and fine-tune your skills. Feel free to brag a little during your interviews — having years of industry experience is an important selling point.
3. Keep Skills Up to Date
Some age discrimination takes place because employers are worried that older workers lack technology skills. Avoid fitting that stereotype by staying up to date on all the ways technology relates to your industry. Use technology in your day-to-day life. Maintain professional social media accounts. Take a course if necessary to build your competency.
4. Take Advantage of Recommendations
More years of work experience provides more reference possibilities. Take advantage of your longer work history by providing exceptional letters of recommendation that share your strengths. Encourage your references to share your abilities to work well with people of all ages as well as the depth and breadth of your skills and knowledge. This will help dispel any worries potential employers might have about your age.
5. Show Your Enthusiasm
Every organization wants workers who bring enthusiasm and energy to the office each day. Show these traits at job interviews. Just because you have a lot of experience, it doesn't mean that you can't bring excitement to a new position. One of the best ways to fight age discrimination is by simply showing the hiring team your potential and how much you look forward to making a positive contribution to the business after you are hired.
Counter age discrimination during your job search by being aware of your rights, showing off your strengths and keeping your technology skills sharp. Never share your age with prospective employers, and consult professional help if you feel that you have been discriminated against.
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