SAN FRANCISCO (MarketWatch) -- Older Americans in search of work may find something they weren't looking for: Age bias.
Despite laws prohibiting it, age discrimination in hiring appears to be alive and well in the U.S.
But there are ways to mitigate its effects. Consider the following tips.
No matter how many times you've seen a negative reaction to your 30-plus years of experience or your gray hair, try to stay positive as you walk in the door.
"Don't carry a chip on your shoulder when you go into the interview," said Renee Ward, founder of Seniors4Hire.org.
"Even when you see that face go blank when they finally do see you and get a sense of how old you are, show some enthusiasm and vibrancy and stress how you would contribute to that company's bottom line," she said.
"It always comes back to a passion for what you do. Communicate that passion to the hiring manager and try to get that manager off the stupid old paradigm that says that an older person can't do this job," Ward said.
Screen your own interview
Make sure your first on-site interview is with executives at the company, or the person likely to be making the hiring decision, rather than human-resource personnel who may not fully understand what your experience can bring to the job. Let the human-resources department screen you by telephone first.
"You want to get in front of the people that are going to understand your value," said John Buskirk, a 59-year-old executive with more than 25 years' experience in health-care technology.
Resume as marketing tool?
Some suggest creating a date-free résumé, one that focuses on your experience rather than when you held particular jobs or graduated from college.
"Once they ask for a complete history, obviously you have to comply with their request," Buskirk said, but the initial résumé mailed to the company, "that's your marketing piece, and the point of the marketing piece is to open the door."
But some say that strategy doesn't always work.
Those résumé formats "have turned into something of a red flag that someone's trying to cover their trail, like soft focus on an aging actress," said Chris Klos, a 52-year-old finance executive on the job hunt in Charlotte, N.C. "Just be who you are," he said.
Related "How to" Tools:Would you like to Create Brilliantly Crafted Resume Letters?(click here)
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