Many people who have looked for a new job after a certain age can tell you that age discrimination is real. Unfortunately, many employers in Fairfax and around the U.S. see job applicants over 50 as old-fashioned, unable to adapt, too expensive and close to retirement.
Age discrimination in hiring is against the lie under federal and Virginia law. If it happens to you, you could have the right to sue for damages. But there are things you can do to help keep yourself from becoming a victim of ageism in your job search. Here are a few tips.
- Review your resume. Don’t include your entire work history; employers are generally only interested in your most recent and relevant job experience, so going back about ten to 15 years is enough. Remove your graduation dates from your education section and move it to the bottom. Try to keep the document to two pages maximum.
- Prepare for ageist questions. It’s illegal to ask your age during a job interview, so ageist hiring managers try to be more subtle. They might ask how long you plan to stay at the job (i.e., will you be retiring soon?). Instead of answering such questions directly, redirect the conversation to highlight how you would be an excellent fit for the position and how eager you are to contribute your skills and experience.
- Keep up to date on your industry’s latest technology and buzzwords. Consider training or certification opportunities. Counter the ageist stereotype that middle-aged workers are stuck using old-fashioned methods and cannot adapt.
Ultimately, it is every employer’s legal responsibility to keep their hiring processes free from bias. As a victim of employment discrimination, you have the power to expose a business’ misconduct and seek compensation for the harm to your career.