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5 Strategies for Addressing Age Discrimination on Your Resume

Age discrimination is a difficult subject for many. We have addressed this topic in a few of our previous blogs, but it is worth discussing further.


Unfortunately, age discrimination is a real problem in the hiring industry. Older workers can be passed over, even though they are qualified for the job opening. The reasons vary, but commonly include concern that the job seeker won't be up to date in the industry, won't be willing to learn new things, or won't stick around for the long-term.


When you create your resume, it's important to alleviate these concerns. Here are some tips we suggest to accomplish this goal.


Avoid Age Discrimination: Only Include Relevant Previous Work Experience


We consistently tell clients that their resume is not their autobiography. You do not need to include every life experience on your resume. You can pick and choose what makes sense. In fact, hiring managers prefer that you are selective with the experiences you list. They don't want to have to search through irrelevant information to find what they are seeking. They want a concise document that demonstrates how you are aligned with their job opening.


Older workers often have previous jobs that are no longer are needed on their resume. The first job you had at a bank 25 years ago doesn't relate to the director role you have today in the healthcare industry. Including it on your resume just shows your age.


Avoid Age Discrimination: Think About Potential Interview Questions


interview of an older job candidate

Although we typically advise people to only include work experience from the past 10-15 years, you may find you do want to include something that goes a bit further back.


Often, we encounter this situation with clients who had a job awhile ago that is more closely related to the new job they are seeking when compared to their current role. Maybe their career path took a turn and they would like to go back to where it was prior to that turn. Or, maybe they took a less intense job so they could focus on raising kids or taking care of an elderly parent and are now ready to get back to a higher-level role because they have the time to focus on their career.


Whatever the circumstance, these candidates may want to include a job from 20 years ago on their resume. This is especially true if they will be answering interview questions using experiences from this older work experience.


If that is your situation, you can provide two different work experience sections. One lists current work experience and the dates of employment. The second lists previous work experience, but leaves off the dates of employment.


Avoid Age Discrimination: Consider Your Education Section


You can easily leave the dates off of your education section. In fact, that is the current resume standard. Only recent graduates need to include graduation dates.


However, you may actually even want to leave off degrees as well. If you are an older worker looking to reduce your responsibilities and take a job that is actually beneath your skill level, you may want to omit some of your degrees.


We see this when clients are not quite ready to retire, but don't want to stay in their current high-stress role. In addition to ageism, there is a concern about appearing overqualified. So, again, keep in mind that your resume isn't an autobiography. If you really want a position that requires a bachelor's degree and not a master's, consider only listing your bachelor's degree on your resume.


Avoid Age Discrimination: Showcase Your Ability to Keep Learning New Things


Older worker in a training class

Have you completed any recent training? Include it in your cover letter or on your resume. Any new courses, certifications or training will demonstrate continuous learning and show you are continuing to develop professionally.


Do you use current technologies? List them in the skills section. Doing this will demonstrate you are keeping current in your industry.



Avoid Age Discrimination: Don't Fall Into the Trap of an Outdated Resume Format


One sure way to show your age is to dust-off a 20-year old resume and update it by listing your current job. Instead, make sure you are following current resume standards. You want a clean, concise resume that has the appropriate sections for a 2024 resume (not a 1999 one). If you resume lists an "Objective," you are using an old format and need to reevaluate.


Need help ensuring your resume showcases your skills and qualification, not your age? Reach out to Revision Resume! We assist clients in overcoming age discrimination to land the job they desire.


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What’s Next?  With the Right Resume, the Sky’s the Limit!
 

The challenge for most job applicants is crafting the right resume. 

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