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How to Avoid Age Discrimination When Applying for a Job

Older worker on a laptop

Studies confirm what clients have indicated to us: age discrimination exists in the workplace. A recent article by the Wall Street Journal and a 2020 AARP survey both confirm ageism is an issue. In fact, the AARP reports that over three-quarters of workers aged 40-65 indicate they have seen or experienced age discrimination.

In addition to being frustrating for job seekers, age discrimination can have long-term impacts. AARP reports that older workers are taking twice as long to find new employment. For those that lost a job due to the pandemic, that often means they are unemployed for long periods of time (6+ months), and the longer the job gap, the more difficult it is to obtain a new position. The end result is many older workers are taking roles that pay less than their pre-pandemic job.

Let's examine ways to avoid age discrimination when applying for a new position.

List Only Recent Work Experience

Don't voluntarily show your age by including 30+ years of work history on your resume, especially if the older job experiences don't relate to the position you are seeking. In most cases, the first job you had out of college is not relevant to the role you are currently applying for. Therefore, it does not need to be included.

Your resume should tell a story, but not be an autobiography. Using just the last 10-15 years of work history, it should tell a narrative of how your unique experiences and qualifications have prepared you for this new role.

Drop the Dates and/or Degrees

You can list your college degrees without including the graduation dates. The dates are not necessary, so leave them off the resume. This will prevent you from directly pointing out your age to the hiring team.

In addition, you may want to eliminate advanced degrees that aren't required for the job. This will help minimize the chance of appearing overqualified, which is a common issue for older workers.

Consider Technologies Before Listing

Although it may seem like a good idea to list all of the technologies you are familiar with, consider which ones might no longer be regularly used in your industry. Only include those that are current. If you list something that hasn't been used in the last decade, it may indicate that you are an older employee and may send the message that your skills are outdated.

Demonstrate Technology Skills

Computer technology

However, if technology is an area of strength, you should demonstrate that on your resume. Include current software packages. Create a LinkedIn profile and add a personal URL to the contact section of your resume (to learn how to make your URL personalized, click here). If you can demonstrate you are tech savvy, you should!

2 Pages

If your resume is longer than 2 pages, it is possible that you are including too much history (exceptions exist for special circumstances such as applying for an executive role or listing patents and publications). In most cases, you should be able to summarize your unique skills within two pages. Remember to focus on the job description and align your resume so that it shows your qualifications specific to the new role.

Avoid Quantifying Total Experience

While it may seem like a good idea to start your executive summary by saying "engineer with 30+ years of experience," it is not advised. Although Revision Resume believes businesses should value this extensive experience, you are directly pointing out your age with this statement, and that may result in age discrimination. Instead, use the same language as contained in the job posting. If they are seeking an engineer with 10+ years of experience, use that exact phrase. Your 30+ years qualifies as over 10 years!

If you are worried about age discrimination and would like assistance creating a resume that highlights your qualifications without inadvertently giving away your age, Revision Resume is here to help. Contact us to learn how we can assist you!

Related Reading:

Seeking details on how to create a quality resume? Click here.



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