How do you encourage a peer who hasn’t been able to land a job due to ageism?

1.1k views3 Upvotes11 Comments

Strategic Banking IT advisor in Banking, 10,001+ employees
This is a really hard question.   However, I do believe that in IT, there are less age barrier than in other domain.  For sure, a seasoned architect or analyst will always find a place.   

Age also rhymes with wisdom and deep confidence which leads to a different value proposition.  I would encourage the person to re-think of its value and propose himself/herself as a mentor, a leader and a coach.

I see around so many new employees (in their 20s) that have a lot of skills (great programmers, etc.) but lack of 'seeing the big picture'.   
Director in Manufacturing, 1,001 - 5,000 employees
As a seasoned professional myself I used a few key points as I prepared my resumes for new roles
- removed dates from “old” information- Bachelors degree didn’t have a date
- Masters degree had date as it was more recent
- certifications had dates if recent to demonstrate continued education and improvements
- focus on recent accomplishments and remove that success story from 30 years ago
- realize ageism exists just like other discrimination so don’t be down on yourself. Be glad you dodged a bad boss and company
- and if you are close enough to the person have the hard discussion on appearance. While ageism is illegal in the USA it happens so what options does the person have? Color grey hair, diet, wear contacts?

It’s unfortunate any type of discrimination exists but it does. Stay positive and do what you can within your own control to reduce the chances you will be labeled too old
Chief Information Technology Officer in IT Services, 201 - 500 employees
I encourage individuals to be active in their network, attend various events, and get involved in different associations or groups in their business field. The advantage of information technology is that many events or projects can be done remotely online, allowing activities to quickly multiply to increase the individual's presence and network of contacts. Ultimately, I believe that a strong network of contacts is crucial, and the social aspect is very important regardless of age. While there may still be some discrimination, an individual who is highly active in their network will eventually develop contacts and achieve success in their job search.
Information Security Director in Media, 10,001+ employees
Depending on which side of the age spectrum (a -less experience/younger or b- more experience/older), I would tell them for type 'A', what they lack in experience, their curiosity, ability to learn/apply learnings quickly and ability to ask questions can generate more diverse collaboration/engagement.  While for type 'B' the above points can also be true, I would add for them that while one has a vast amount of experience, this perspective should not be confused with being uncoachable.  So I would encourage them to explore contracting options as well, as their competencies might be of value in a different role.  Also to continually ask the questions that can address the ageism issue upfront either in your resume or interview responses.
Director of IT in Software, 201 - 500 employees
This is a real problem, and IT is no exception, it might be less visible than in other profesions but is still there.
 The suggestions I provide us are to remove dates of old jobs, old certificates or education credentials on the resume. Provide the name of the certificate, bachelor's or master's degree and institution, but don't put dates when you were enrolled. Don't put more than ten years of experience on the resume unless it's required for the position you are applying. 
If you get the interview, focus on what you recently learned, and what new technology you're excited about. When asked about a difficult customer or any other question about how you dealt with something, don't bring an example from 25 years ago; focus on the last few years, discuss the experience there etc.
Also, I always say that you be mindful of where you are applying and whether that is the right job position for you.  If the ad is saying we are looking for a recent grad or it's a very junior position then maybe there are better positions available where your seniority will be appreciated 
CEO in Healthcare and Biotech, 11 - 50 employees
Tough question but encourage creativity in describing he experience and insight in problem solving, and use social media to do so (meaning update your tools such as LinkedIn and engage accoordingly)
Chief Information Officer in IT Services, Self-employed
Ageism is rife today. There is not a day goes by where I don't see overt and unconscious bias in the workplace. Whilst companies rightly focus on equality and have specific groups supporting minorities there are limited to no examples of companies addressing ageism head on.  What do I recommend?  Go set up your own company.
Chief Information Officer in Government, 501 - 1,000 employees
Ageism—like other biases—is a product of judgmental ignorance, and reflecting on the problem’s root cause can be an encouragement to its victims. Some of life’s most significant “closed-door” disappointments are firewalls holding back misfortunes we are blessed to miss. Through understanding, we can resolve or avoid problems, and this trait is indicative of an organization that should be avoided.
Highly Qualified Expert in Healthcare and Biotech, 10,001+ employees
Haven’t seen this as a concern..
Chief Executive Officer in Software, 51 - 200 employees
it's essential to validate their feelings and experiences. Ageism in the job market can be disheartening and frustrating, so lending a listening ear and acknowledging their struggle can provide emotional support. Let them know that their experiences are valid and that they are not alone in facing such challenges.

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One thing I do is include them in the meetings about the changes that will take place and get their opinion.  I also lay out the pros and cons of the changes and how it will effect us as a team moving forward.

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