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Does it get harder to change jobs as you get older?

No matter your advancing age, you may have the same career drive as in your youth. Alternatively, you may want to switch jobs to increase your income, or move to a new location, or simply gain new experience. Unfortunately, as you age, your chances of getting a call-back interview may decrease.

A recent study by a University of California professor analyzed call-back rates for resumes submitted for open positions. More than 40,000 resumes were submitted; the only difference between them was the age of the applicant. According to the study, call-back rates drop significantly for older adults. 

When you apply for a job, it can be difficult to know why your application was rejected. The employer does not need to tell you the exact reason. However, if you start to see a pattern with a particular employer based on age it may be a sign of a discriminatory employment policy.

What if you were rejected due to your age?

The Age Discrimination in Employment Act protects employees who are older than 40 who face age discrimination, including by failure to hire older workers. If you are a victim of age discrimination, you may be able to bring a claim against the offending company. These claims can be difficult to prove. If you suspect that you are a victim of age discrimination, and in order to build a viable claim, you should:

  • Keep records – Take notes about your interactions with the interviewers, HR, and other people at the company about the job. Over time, your memory of an event or a conversation can fade. Writing down your thoughts right after the conversation can help. Also be sure to keep any related correspondence.
  • Talk to your peers – Reach out to your network of current and former co-workers to see if they have had similar experiences with that company. Often, you may find you are not alone.
  • Speak with an attorney – An experienced employment lawyer can evaluate your case and help you understand your legal options. Additionally, your attorney can act as your advocate, negotiating on your behalf and standing up for you in the courtroom.

If you did not get a call-back after an interview or were rejected for a promotion based on your age, you can take action.

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