Mature, experienced workers will most likely encounter ageism in their job search. Employers are not suppose to discriminate based on a lot of things, including age. However, we know this just isn’t reality and it is very hard to prove.
Unfortunately your breadth of experience and hard-earned wisdom may cause a hiring manager to assume you’d be too expensive. You could be deemed “overqualified.” Perhaps he or she incorrectly assess you will not be up-to-date on the latest technology and industry news. Frustrating, isn’t it?
Would you be shocked to learn that ageism can start as early as your 40s? It’s true.
So, what can be done about it, apart from blatantly lying about your age? Dishonesty is never a good route to take in any aspect of life, including business.
4 Things to Combat Ageism
Since we are a resume writing company, we are going to focus on your resume. This is often the first thing a hiring agent will see and it should not contain anything obvious that will “date” you.
#1. Don’t Date Yourself
Often times, when someone is being ageist, they don’t even realize it. Even so, they will scan your resume and piece together information to get an idea of how old you and then draw their own conclusions. Anything that happened more than fifteen years ago doesn’t need a date.
How to avoid dating yourself on your resume:
- List your education, institution, degree, certifications, etc.but don’t list the years you received them. It is not required.
- If you have certifications you can provide their expiration dates
- Use an updated email address. Yahoo, Hotmail, AOL, etc. are old school. If you are using one of these create a Gmail account instead.
- Only include your home city and state, not your full address. This is more updated and better for security reasons.
- Complete your LinkedIn profile completely and include the URL to it on your resume. Take advantage our our LinkedIn Makeover service to ensure you have a professional profile.
- Create your resume in an updated format using modern software.
- Do not include basic computer and typing skills (unless very specific to the position you are applying for.) Employers assume applicants have basic typing and computer skills. You do not need to tell them how many words per minute you can type.
#2. What have you done lately?
A telltale sign of an older worker is a really long list of jobs, skills, and experience. A good rule of thumb for anyone, regardless of age and career, is to only include the most recent and relevant information. The fast food job you had a 16 doesn’t matter when applying for a branch manager position of an electronics company in your 50s.
Show how your most recent experience will contribute positively to the position you are applying for. What do you bring to the table?
#3. Embrace the Gap
Employment gaps in resumes are not ideal, but they are also common and not something to stress about. Many people leave the workforce to care for children or elderly parents, to go back to school, heal from an injury or illness, or other reasons. If you have a gap in your resume don’t hide it. Instead, explain it positively and professionally. Be honest.
Don’t forget to include volunteer work, boards you were a part of, or anything else work-related you were doing before, during and after your gap. Experience and skills you gained from these activities are also considered relevant to your work history.
#4. Toot your horn!
More experience and time working means more opportunities to rack up achievements and awards. Not to mention many years of data and examples of why you are good at what you do. This is a distinct advantage over younger workers who simple haven’t had the chance yet to do all the things you have.
Use action statements that describe what you do rather than a bulleted list of responsibilities. Employers want specific examples of solving problems, creating more revenue, team building, managing people, creating processes, etc. Tell them an interesting story rather than bore them with a list.
Defy Ageism in Your Job Search: The Wrap Up!
There are so many intimidating things about looking for a new job. Don’t let your age be one of them. You have an amazing skill set and valuable experience to offer. Being strategic about your age on your resume will help you land the interview. Then you can wow them with your story!
Happy Career Hunting! We are here for you!
Need more job search advice?
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