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National and Global, United States

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

AGEISM: It's A Killer.

Age discrimination is an issue today. It wasn't for me 'yesterday'. Today it is. No particular reason outside of the fact that we all age. Ageism. I hate that term. Nevertheless, it's out there, in all its inexcusable, ugly forms. It's not blatant mind you. It's subtle. It's suspect.

You probably will never be directly confronted with the issue. But they will figure it out...and you will just not get called.

AARP said it regularly tests companies and has seen it in action when companies tend to prefer to call younger candidates than those aged 50 and older, even when all other factors are equal.

So how do you get through the screening filter? How do you past even the 'gatekeeper'?

The best way to keep age from being a factor in your job search is not to make it an issue early, said Dan Kohrman, an attorney at AARP who oversees age-discrimination cases. "What we say is, ‘Don't invite consideration of your age' because it's going to happen in the ordinary course in many instances anyway."

One way to keep from getting screened out early is by getting your resume current. Eliminate the year from any degrees and early jobs and focus on more recent experience. The detail in the resume needs to address the specifics of the position. If you have only one resume 'stored', you are in for rude awakenings.

Keep the resume short. A long resume invites ageism. Still, make yourself unique.
Differentiate.Discriminate.Recognize the value of your uniqueness and ignore everything else. Make it a focal point of your strategy.

Now this: no matter what you do, you can't hide the age at the interview. You'll need vigor, energy, creativity, insight. Guru status when you walk into the room.
If not, they will stereotype you. They will go through all the motions, and you will not get called again. Ageism at its very worst. And it's a killer.

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