Whether we like to admit or not, discrimination is a factor that we will all face at some point in our lives. Discrimination is born from ignorance or fear. When you face discrimination in your job search, you must make it your mission to educate your discriminator (your potential employer) and help them overcome their fears. Let's look at three of the most common causes of discrimination and examine how we can overcome them.
Age discrimination is based on the fear that the potential employee is lacking in several key areas. The employer may feel that you lack the energy to do the job. They may fear that you are not flexible and open to changes in the industry or technology. They also may fear that they can't afford you.
Most of these fears can be dealt with in an interview. Therefore, the first step to overcoming these fears is to ensure that an employer has no idea of your age from your resume. Don't go back farther than 10 years - 15 years maximum - on your resume. Don't list dates of education, especially if those dates are before the last 10 years. Second, make sure you keep updated on changing industry standards and trends a well as emerging technology. Last, be sure to express energy, enthusiasm, and vitality in the interview.
In a job market where many people are "underemployed" this is a common problem. The overqualified stigma is based on the fear that you will just leave when something better comes along and the fear that they can not afford your salary.
To overcome this fear, be sure to clarify that you are looking to work for their specific company, cite some reasons why you chose their company based on your research, and finally express your interest in tenure and your focus toward long-term employment. In terms of salary, make every effort not to discuss how much you want to make until they make you a job offer.
Believe it or not, discrimination based on whether you are male or female is still prevalent in the job market. Often employers will discriminate against a woman because she has family and children at home that will take her focus away from work. Often this form of discrimination is based on ignorance of your capabilities.
No matter whether you are male or female, I recommend leaving your personal life (marital status, kids/no kids, ages of kids) out of the interview. Instead focus on what value you can bring to the company. Showing hands-on experience performing the tasks for which you are applying should help to overcome much of these fears.