The American dream of working until you decide to retire is no longer the reality for many people. More people are losing their jobs before they’re ready to retire, sometimes through layoffs and sometimes by choosing to leave because they feel they’re being pushed out of a job.

Losing a job is one of the most devastating things that can happen to a person. If you’re over age 50, getting back in the job market also means facing ageism. But ageism – discrimination against people based on their age – can affect people of any age.

How and who ageism affects

Younger people may be paid less than older workers because they have less experience and may be fired more often. Younger workers often don’t have dependents and older workers have more legal protections. Older workers, however, may find it more difficult to be promoted or find new jobs.

According to the AARP, 1 in every 5 workers in the U.S. is over age 55. Sixty-five percent of workers report having experienced age discrimination in the workplace and 58 percent said the incidents began when they were about 50 years old, according to an article in Verywell.

Stereotypes that contribute to ageism include employers’ assumptions that older workers’ benefits costs will be higher, older workers are more difficult to retrain and older workers may not be able to do the work. On the flip side, however, some companies recognize the value of a diversified workforce, and are working to hire and retain older workers, even those in their 60s and 70s.

What can you do to avoid ageism?

Tactics and tips

If you’re over 50 and looking for a job, here is some advice from the AARP:

  • Focus on 10 to 15 years of experience on your resume.
  • Highlight your skills and expertise.
  • Don’t use graduation dates.
  • Keep the length of your resume to two pages.
  • Tailor your resume to the job you’re applying for by matching your skills to the job.
  • Use keywords in your resume and cover letter.
  • Use an appropriate style of resume, either chronological, functional or combination.

AARP also recommends using an updated email address, maintaining a social media profile, addressing the reason for your lack of employment and acknowledging any gaps in your employment history. Networking and leveraging volunteering also are important steps in finding a new job. When you go to an interview, wear modern clothes and leave your 1970s leisure suit in your closet.

Steps employers might consider

According to the Society for Human Resources Management (SHRM), the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission recommends that employers:

  • Review your company’s culture or policies for any assumptions about older workers.
  • Examine recruitment practices for such age-related issues as requiring date of birth or graduation dates on employment applications.
  • Foster a culture that rejects stereotypes based on age.
  • Include age in diversity and inclusion programs.

If you’d like more information on how to build your resume to impress potential employers or you’re an employer interested in avoiding ageism, connect with me at Melody L. Beach Consulting Group.

Contact us today and learn how we can help you!

AFFILIATED ORGANIZATIONS

Northeast Human Resources Association (NEHRA)
Webster Dudley Business Alliance (WDBA)
AARP (American Association of Retired Persons)
PARWCC The Professional Association of Resume Writers & Career Coaches Woman in Business (WIB)
BNI Referral Champions Worcester Chapter
Society of Human Resource Management (SHRM)
Chamber of Commerce Central South Mass (CCSM)
50+ Job Seekers
Human Resources Management Association (HRMA) of Central Massachusetts
Women's Information Network (WIN)
Massachusetts Councils on Aging (MCOA)
Worcester Regional Chamber of Commerce

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