How does an experienced worker fight off age discrimination?

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Question: “I am an Administrative Assistant with more than 15 years’ experience working for an Assistant VP, an Executive Director, an Engineering Manager and a Director of Marketing. I was also responsible for their staff and assisting other departments when needed. Our company has gone through two buyouts in less than a year and the reorganization leaves me without a job unless an opening becomes available. I have applied for two administrative positions over the past nine months. I was not notified whether or not I was being considered. I’m not getting responses to résumés sent outside the organization either. My skills are up-to-date. The rumor is that the new CEO does not want anyone over a particular age in this company. Unfortunately, I fall in the age category mentioned. I know this is age discrimination that I cannot prove, so how do I get noticed and stay marketable?” —Sheilah Trigg

Comments

I just saw a segment on the Today show this morning that said give your resume a facelift not yourself. Basically they said to take the dates off of your resume. Remove the date that you graduated from high school, college etc. Create a younger sounding resume. Hope this helps.

I have been where you are and it can be a discouraging experience if you choose to let it. First of all, please don't give credence to rumor. It is difficult to confirm the rumor you have heard and without that confirmation, you could place yourself in a far worse position.
When I had this happen to me, I started with employment agencies. I made appointments with the the senior interviewer at the agency (I refused to talk to someone who was younger than my daughter). I did this with several agencies. We openly discussed my age as being a deciding factor for the potential employer. At the same time, I took a few refresher courses at the local junior college to be sure my skill set was up to par. I also made sure the agencies included that information in my file. It took awhile but eventually the interviews started happening. I think my point here is to be proactive. Get yourself out there and be sure to be positive. You will project your positive attitude and it will be so evident to future employers.
Also, be up front with the agencies. Let them know your concerns about your age, your strong points and your weaknesses.
I had a long talk with myself and decided that I too was interviewing the companies, not just them interviewing me. My experience was evident as well as my loyality as shown by my longevity. It isn't easy, but you can do this. Have you considered moving on with a different company? It was remarkable what that did for me! Good luck!

Applying for 2 jobs in nine months is not that much. Your resume should be out there way more than that no matter how old you were. That is definetly not enough exposure. Have you also tried applying at companies smaller than yours where you might be able to broaden your field, maybe apply for an office manager type job where your experience is looked at as a positive. It would be considered age discrimination for him to not want to hire someone of a certain age but it also could be just a hurtful rumor. Good luck.

I agree with Alice. I have 28 years of admin experience plus a degree. I am also 46. Once I updated my resume to a skills resume vs a time line resume, my job search went into high gear. I actually received several offers of employment and accepted the one that I felt matched my skills and future outlook. Remember you are selling your skills but at the same time you don't want to appear too overly qualified for a position you are applying for so make sure you read the job description and adjust accordingly your resume. List your strengths of why you would be an excellent admin for the position then take the strengths and put it in a cover letter with your resume when you apply for a position. Also, since you don't know what is going to happen have your resume etc., ready for the new management, show you are ready and able to meet the challenges of a change over. Show how you can be a team player with a new team in place. Attitude is still half the battle if you sound weak they will think you are weak, if you sound ready to make the changes they will see you as a mover and doer.....

I also had a degree and a lot of experience when i had to return to the job market in my fifties. I moved from East Coast to West Coast and had to re-establish myself in the marketplace. I interviewed at employment agencies, worked as a high-level temp for awhile and ended up at a public agency (which, by law, cannot discriminate against older employees). I have an interesting staff support job, good salary, great benefits, and I'm still working even though I'm officially a "senior citizen." You have to be proactive and "manage" your career. Unfortunately, the rumor may be true. Many years ago I worked for a company that was bought out by another . The new CEO did want somebody younger & did not want to break the law. What he did was "demote" his executive assistant by giving her lesser responsibilities and giving more to the younger admin. The exec assistant saw the writing on the wall and left the company shortly thereafter, and the young admin was promoted to exec assistant.

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