Tips to Beat Age Discrimination in Your Job Search

While age discrimination can hurt the job and career prospects of older adults, there are steps they can take to improve their chances of landing a new position. Richard Wahlquist, chief executive officer at American Staffing Association (ASA) offers the following tips to older job seekers:

Skip dates on résumé. “The biggest single challenge facing older workers looking for a job is not being given a chance to be interviewed because of their age,” he says. “Eliminating dates from a résumé will put the focus on skills, accomplishments and experience instead of graduation years and decades worked.”

Highlight new skills and achievements. “Résumés should highlight the technology and software applicationsthat the individual has learned and used successfully,” Wahlquist says. “Whether it’s a LinkedIn badge or industry certification, provide examples of how you’ve kept yourself current with industry trends. This helps to overcome ageism biases and emphasize a commitment to lifelong learning.”

Audit your social media accounts. Take care that everything you’ve posted or shared is something you “are comfortable with a hiring manager seeing,” Wahlquist recommends.

Make lists to sharpen focus . “When preparing for an interview, older workers should make a list of the life experiences, skill sets and successes they’re bringing to the table,” he says. “Memorize that list so that during the interview you can focus on telling the story of your career journey so far, what you are bringing to the table and what you hope to gain from a new role.

Emphasize skills. “Most importantly, focus on skills, including what used to be called ‘soft skills,’  ” Wahlquist says.

“Employers today are doing skills-based hiring, and they are looking for employees with competencies that are now being considered to be ‘essential’ or ‘power’ skills,” he says. “Essential skills include emotional intelligence, collaboration, critical thinking, leadership, creative problem-solving, flexibility, resilience, time management, and of course, communication skills — all things that you’ve developed and honed over your years in the workforce.

“Here is where older workers have an edge,” he adds. “Play that card to your advantage, knowing that your personal skills are at the top of the list of what most employers are looking for today.”