Wary of Age-ism in the Executive Job Market?

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Many of my executive clients express concern about their longevity in the workplace as is generally apparent at least to a degree in their executive resume. A recent article on Weddles.com discusses how to best work around the issue of age discrimination. It would seem that the trend is favorable for older workers, in that the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics observes that the participation of older workers in the workforce is increasing (unemployment among those 55 and older decreased to 3.4% in 2005, from 4.1% in 1985). However, many still find themselves passed over when the final cut is made. This is because, as we all know, statistics can be deceiving. While the strict percentage unemployed went down, the number of candidates looking for work in that age category went up, way up: by nearly 40%!

It’s not a lack of jobs that is the source of the problem. There’s a virtual war for talent going on out there. So what gives? It would seem that age discrimination is alive and well, despite legislation outlawing it and the fact that many enlightened employers have come to realize the true value of seasoning and experience in employees, especially those at higher level, strategic positions. Yet research shows that age bias often begins as early as 45 years of age!

The article suggests 4 excellent strategies to position yourself as strongly as possible to combat age bias. To paraphrase their suggestions in brief:

1) Keep your skills at the forefront of your profession. Dedicate yourself to state-of-the-art knowledge acquisition as a way of life.

2) Market yourself based on the ROI you can offer the employer, results you can deliver, not “X” number of years of experience. Make sure your executive resume writer powerfully describes the contributions you have made and can make going forward.

3) Position yourself as invaluable by working above and beyond the call of duty… step outside the parameters of your job description.

4) Keep physically fit and look as youthful as you can. Exude vitality, stamina, and a “can-do” attitude.

When you think about it, these should be steps EVERY employment candidate should take, not only those fearing potential age discrimination!