Is Age Discrimination His Problem?

agediscriminationW.J.S. writes:
I am a middle-aged formerly middle-management middle-income man who has been downsized from a corporate position. I have been actively seeking employment and have been trying to network send out resumes etc. I have had my resume professionally written have a B.S. and an excellent career history with excellent reviews. All this considered I am working as a security guard which I took as an interim job. I can’t even seem to get an interview. Could there possibly be age discrimination? What’s your opinion?


The Career Doctor responds:
I think the most important words I can say to you are don’t be discouraged. Maybe it’s too late for those words but I want to hope that your problems have less to do with age discrimination – which is certainly possible – and more to do with three issues that you must address and spin to your advantage.

The first issue is being downsized. No matter what anyone says it hurts the ego. I should know – I was downsized by a major corporation in the 80s. It’s a blow. And no matter how much we try to convince ourselves that we were not fired and that there is no stigma … sometimes we carry that issue with us into the job search and into the interview. Try to find a neutral party – an associate – and have them evaluate your approach and style. Make sure this person will be totally honest with you. Make appropriate changes.

The second issue is networking. Because of your level or experience and expertise networking is a crucial task for you. Again networking will only work for you if you have overcome the first issue. You can not appear down discouraged or desperate. For your network to work you need to spin your situation as an opportunity for a new direction and new challenges. Work your network – friends family associates former coworkers etc.

The third issue is your level of expertise and salary. Middle managers can be the hardest to place because the flattened business model that shows less of a need for them; thus you need to make sure your resume stress quantified accomplishments – that you were an active participate in your past company. The salary issue may be a little harder because some companies may eliminate you from consideration based on an assumption of affordability. I would stress – again – the power of your network – but also the use of a headhunter though keep in mind that headhunters are working for the hiring companies.

Best of luck to you. It is going to take some time so try not to be impatient. Build that network and focus on the positive.
See this section of Quintessential Careers for more help and resources: Job and Career Resources for Mature and Older Job-Seekers.

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