Ask Dr. Job’s chief contributor, Sandra Pesmen, is a member of the Chicago Journalism Hall of Fame and author of “DR. JOB’s Complete Career Guide.”

Winner of several journalism awards, Pesmen is a graduate of the University of Illinois Media College at Urbana, and is listed in several Who’s Who editions. She also has been Corporate Features Editor of Crain Communications Inc., founding Features Editor of Crain’s Chicago Business and a reporter/features writer for The Chicago Daily News.

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Don't Ask Don't Tell-Age

Q It's new for me to feel self conscious about my age, but as I approach my 50th birthday this year, I see eyebrows lift and faces change when I admit that. It's especially hard since I look and act younger, and have started seeking a new job and I can sense the interviewers would prefer someone younger (who would settle for less pay.) Also, the hiring people seem to be younger than I am and that makes me nervous while talking to them. I trying and act "cool," so I mention I'm involved with computers and texting and social networking. Am I right to sense this sudden discrimination?

Ans. It's often present as you describe. But it should not be. It's illegal, and you don't have to change your dialogue to something you think will impress someone younger. If the subject of age doesn't come up-don't introduce it. Present your qualifications, keep stressing ways in which you will bring more profits and efficiency to the company and why you are the perfect person to fill the vacancy. It may be a good idea to limit your activities on those social networks. They make it far too easy for any prospective employer to find out way too much about you that you many not want introduced to these situations. (Actually, you probably can live well without knowing immediately what one of your 1,000 "friends" just ate for lunch.)

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