Protect Your Résumé From Age Discrimination

If you're heading back into the job market after many years of experience in the work force, the following blog from Kailyn Champlin offers three critical tips to ensure the best chance of your résumé being seen and considered.

Searching for a job nowadays is a far cry from the way things used to be. Now, recruiters “ghost” you (i.e., leave you hanging without a return phone call or email), and you don’t even know why. Sadly, one reason could be because your résumé is making you look “too old.”

It’s a tragic truth. While you may think giving your all over the last 35 years to the same company proves you are a loyal and dedicated worker, all the recruiter may be thinking as he or she looks at your résumé is that you’re over 50 years old and that you’re going to want to retire soon. In that case, the recruiter thinks, it’s probably best not to choose you for a long-term position.

Here are three tips to help you craft your résumé in such a way so as to not let your age define your qualifications before the recruiter even agrees to meet with you.

Keep Your Experience Relevant

It seems logical that if you have a plethora of experience in a variety of areas that you should include that experience on your résumé. After all, you never know which of the jobs you’ve held previously will be the closest match for the position you’re seeking. However, as tempting as it may be to include all your promotions over the last 30 years, don’t. Even if you don’t include dates, the hiring manager knows how much time it takes to accrue that much experience.

Whittle your résumé down to two pages, and include only the most relevant information from your career. Try to match your résumé as best you can to the skills and qualifications listed in the job posting. Many recruiters use software that only selects the résumés that match the terms they’re looking for, so the more terms you can legitimately include on your résumé, the better.

Watch Your Dates

While this builds on the advice in the above tip, you should be careful of any and all dates you include on your résumé. This goes for graduation dates and dates on which you earned certifications. For instance, if your last Windows certification was from when Windows 95 was released, this is a dead giveaway that you’re not fresh out of school.

You shouldn’t not include dates, because this, too, is a bad idea. So what can you do? It may seem like overkill, but if you want to freshen up your skills, you may want to consider taking a nighttime or online class. Not only will you freshen up your résumé, but you may also find you’re able to apply for more positions by learning something new. Then you can leave off the older certifications (like Windows 95) entirely and replace them with newer ones (like Windows 10) that make you more employable.

Switch to a Professional Summary

If you’re including an objective statement on your résumé, this too can make you look “old school.” Today’s candidates often use a professional summary. The difference is that, instead of one line of at the top of your résumé describing your purpose in applying, you instead include a blurb of factual evidence that proves you have what it takes to succeed at the job.

Consider the following:

Example Objective Statement:

“Seeking a position that allows me to use my strengths as a project manager to provide quality feedback to my team while helping the company achieve its organizational objectives.”

Example Professional Summary:

“Business graduate with proven communication, email and project management skills. Seeking a position as a project manager at Company ABC, to leverage management skills to support internal and external communication.”

The differences are minor, but by staying on top of trends in job applications, you’re giving the recruiter or hiring manager one less reason to question your longevity with the company. This is also a great space to fill in a little more of your experience without attaching dates.

(Source: Kailyn Champlin, Simply Hired)

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