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Graying Job Seekers Try Not to Look Their Age

Faced with a tough job market and concerns about age discrimination, some older job seekers are attempting to hide their age from prospective employers.

Everything from omitting dates from one’s resume to coloring one’s hair, or even getting plastic surgery all might offer older job hunters a competitive edge, according to a story on the subject in USA TODAY.<?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = “urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office” />
 
A recent survey by the online job board HotJobs.com, reported that 63 percent of job seekers would leave a date off their resume to conceal their age. And about 20 percent admitted they would consider plastic surgery to improve their job prospects.
 
That is in part because age discrimination has become a real and growing concern for older employees.
 
According to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, there were 19,921 age discrimination cases filed last year. That marked a more than 40 percent increase from the 14,141 cases filed in 1999.
 
Many employment coaches counsel older clients to take care to avoid dating themselves during a job search.
 
More than half of 199 job-hunting executives said age was a significant hiring-decision factor at or even before age 50, according to a recent survey by ExecuNet, a career-networking organization.
 
The Wall Street Journal offered some suggestions for these job hunters:
 
–Some career experts recommend disclosing only the dates of jobs held within the past 10 or 15 years. And omitting the year one graduated from college can remove what for some may be ancient history.
 
–Change your appearance. “You’re not supposed to dress like a 20-year-old,” said Kate Wendleton, president of the Five O’Clock Club, a national career-counseling organization. “But if you look really, really old, it’s not good. You need to look fresh.”
 
–Updating one’s wardrobe, buying new shoes, dying gray hair, losing weight, ditching the big battered brief case and fixing those baggy eyes can all be great moves, she said.
 
Men, as well as women, aren’t afraid to dye their hair to look younger. Sales of Just For Men hair color rose more than 15 percent higher than sales two years ago, <?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = “urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags” />USA TODAY reported. A Just For Men survey found more than 75 percent of respondents thought looking younger gave them an edge in the job market.
 
The Journal also mentioned the importance of stressing a high energy level and active lifestyle. And don’t forget to highlight up-to-date skills and a willingness to mentor young people.
 
Some people are even willing to go under the knife to get that job.
 
The American Society of Plastic Surgeons reported that more than half of face-lifts are performed on patients who are 51 to 64 years of age.
 
And the number of men getting plastic surgery has grown, according to USA TODAY. More than 130,000 men had Botox treatments in 2002. That’s up 25 percent from 2001.
 
Jodi Mathews is news writer for EthicsDaily.com.