Secrets of the Job Hunt


Tuesday, March 14, 2006

The Best Way to Avoid Age Discrimination

I'm a big fan of Ask The Headhunter. He publishes a newsletter where he tackles job hunting topics and his site is full of other great career advice articles. His latest newsletter is about a 51 yr old man who wants to avoid age discrimination. It's a question I hear often so I wanted to share part of his recent newsletter. For all you baby boomers out there, it's good advice.

I am 51 years old and just got caught in a layoff. I am going to pursue new employment starting next week. I have 20 years of management experience, and I know I have a lot to offer any company in my industry. The only thing that worries me is my age. You hear so many stories about talented people my age being discriminated against. Do I have a problem, or is it in my head? Thanks.

There is no doubt that bigotry and discrimination thrive in the dirty little corners of the corporate world. But if there is age anxiety in your own mind, that's far more dangerous to your career. Don't approach an interview thinking about your age. Expect that a company wants you for the profit you can create. Then, if a business rejects you, all you're walking away from is a lousy company.

Some employers will discriminate over age; some won't. The best way to influence them is to walk in the door, having done your homework, and show how you're going to help them improve their bottom line. I cover this simple idea so often that I fear people will get tired of it. But this is especially important if you're concerned about discrimination, because one thing trumps bigotry: Money. Show a company that you will help it make more money, and you will get almost any manager's attention. Let the manager smell your worries about your age, and you're toast.

I completely agree with Nick's assessment. Just focus your approach on solving the company's problems. As a job seeker that is your best bet. You can also do things like dressing younger, only listing the last 10 years of experience on your resume and brushing up on your computer skills.

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