How older workers can overcome age discrimination

It may be no shock to California seniors that AARP reports that 64 percent of people face age discrimination in the workplace. It occurs on both individual and institutional levels based on assumptions such as older people get more exhausted or neglect their health more than young people. Other misconceptions include that young people do more to develop new skills, and older people are less interested in exploring new concepts and opportunities. However, there are steps that older workers can take to overcome these assumptions and age discrimination.

The first step is using enough keywords in their resumes. When workers submit resumes online, they go through digital scanners that look for certain keywords and keyword amounts. This helps businesses weed out applicants who don’t have enough experience or the right training for certain jobs. Federal laws also don’t allow companies to require applicants to give the dates on which they earned their degrees. For applications that require this because the companies have not updated their forms, entering “9999” allows older workers to submit their applications. Additionally, older workers can use the network of contacts that they have built during their careers. Having referrals from these contacts could get them past the screening process.

Another way to get their foot into the workforce is by offering coaching, consulting or mentoring services on a per project basis. This shows companies in real time that they can be assets. Offering to speak to an industry group also demonstrates the value of their experience. Finally, some older workers may benefit from creating their own businesses depending on their income needs, lifestyles and skills. Freelance work is also an option.

Older people who experience illegal discrimination in the workforce may want to meet with an attorney to see what recourse they may have. Filing an Age Discrimination in Employment Act claim may be one possible remedy.

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