Ageism begins at 40

While the concept of ageism is fairly well known (and believed)(and accepted???) in the corporate world, my experience is that most people believe it happens to everyone else, but won’t happen to them. I’m going to bare my soul and lay it out that, yes, ComputerRecruiter herself has fallen victim to these face-saving, self-preserving delusions.

Oh, not me, I work out, have groovy glasses, skillfully camouflaged hair, and spend gazillions on facial salves and poultices. I can win the hiring-infant over with my hip-ness and my nimble use of a smart phone.

Yeah OK, that may work in person. The hurdle lies in landing that in-person audience. You need to make sure that nothing raises the ageism hackles before you come to the interview.

Here are some tips to help you nip that in the bud. Nip it, nip it, nip it!

• Have your resume reviewed by a young person – you want to use the latest in fonts and format, while keeping in line with the tone acceptable in your industry. Make skillful use of Word – to make the resume visually attractive, and signal that you are MS-Office-literate.
Remove the dates from your education. Unless it is a new degree.
• Show at max 20 years of work experience. Drop the prior assignments – leave them off unless they are the only things on the resume that make you qualified for the job at hand.
• Scour your resume for old words – data processing, supervisor, COBOL, programmer, etc.
• Get yourself a personal email address that does not include your birthday information. (OK, I don’t want to be cruel here, but the hiring-infant has been computer savvy since birth. They are used to ‘code’ – and appending your birth date onto your name was allegedly started by Fred Flintstone and definitely doesn’t meet Navajo-level security. Don’t blow the chance of an interview because You Are Not Smarter Than a Second Grader – who can quickly subtract 1961 from 2009 and come up with 48.)

Remember, we know that with age comes maturity that is invaluable in business situations. But all they know is that you may not have a command of the technologies they need you to use. So why waste time on a candidate with red flags right on the resume. Make them work to find a reason to reject you!

Next CR-time, deflecting ageism in person!

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