Ageism: Is It Hurting Your Career?

Published Thursday, June 16, 2011 7:45 PM

In a tight job market, every advantage counts. For some aging employees, plastic surgery, Botox and hair dye is seen as a necessary step to remain a viable job candidate according to a spate of recent articles. 

While ageism, like its brethren -isms, sexism, racism, no doubt rears its ugly head in certain work environments, it should not be viewed as an insurmountable obstacle: sharp, savvy job seekers can always market themselves, no matter their age.

We'll leave the issue of whether or not to combat those grays to you and your hairdresser. We prefer to stick to the basics, work basics. Ideas to take the focus off your age and onto your abilities include:

Recent Results First: Resumes get brief attention so be sure to highlight recent accomplishments up top. Don't overwhelm the resume with every single job over a decades-long career. Consider a functional resume that emphasizes your well-honed areas of expertise and shows your work experience is current.


On Trend: Dispell notions that old means dated. Be sure to be current on technology and trends; you and your prospective boss may have generational differences in music but you should have the same current technology skills. Staying fresh is imperative.


Up Your Energy: Demonstrate your energy and vitality with attention to detail. Make sure your handshake and body language convey energy, not fatigue. Avoid dated looks, hairstyles and eye-glasses; consider wearing bright colors that communicate vitality. Don't go overboard by wearing inappropriately young styles. The look should say seasoned and stylish, not desperate.

Work that Network: An advantage to a long-running career should be a well-established network. By continuing to actively network, and to mentor younger colleagues, you will keep your sensibility fresh, generate job leads and remain up-to-date in your industry.

Do you see ageism at play in your industry? How do you combat ageism?  Share your thoughts here and at the Pendaflex Facebook page.

by Candie Harris


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