Tips to Get Around Age Discrimination
The lead article in the Sep/Oct 2009 issue of the Intercom is Saul Caroliner's "Addessing Implicit Age Discrimination in Your Job Search Activities." This is a well-written article of special interest to older technical communicators looking for jobs. Some of Saul's advice includes
- omitting an extra degree or two if you seem to have too many
- omitting experience that makes you too qualified for the position
- listing the current software you know to avoid the impression that you're not tech savvy
Saul also explains that candidates who remain at the same job too long seem undesirable and untrainable. The optimum length of time is between 4 and 12 years, depending on the hiring manager's perspective.
Saul also says to be careful in removing dates from your resume, such as dates of employment, or dates you received degrees, because it may create more red flags than you want. However, you can present highlights of your accomplishments and experience. Highlights call less attention to dates and focus more on your achievements.
Saul also recommends that you use the network you've accumulated over the years to find the hidden jobs. As you assert your visibility in the social networking space, try "focusing on two or three things you're passionate about so that people can 'brand' you."
As a young professional (34 yrs old), I don't often think about age discrimination. But my father reminds me about it every once in a while. Saul's article made me reflect on what it will be like when I'm 55+ looking for work. It made me more sensitive to stereotypes that we often have about older people and technology.
About Tom Johnson
I'm a technical writer based in the San Francisco Bay area. In this blog, I write about topics related to technical writing and communication — such as software documentation, API documentation, visual communication, information architecture, writing techniques, plain language, tech comm careers, and more. Check out simplifying complexity and API documentation for some deep dives into these topics. If you're a technical writer and want to keep on top of the latest trends in the field, be sure to subscribe to email updates. You can also learn more about me or contact me.